February 6, 2010
5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Luke 5: 1-11 “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
The Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee) was surrounded by ten prosperous towns during the time of Jesus. The richness and beauty of the lake attracted people from all walks of life. Being a wise evangelizer, Jesus knew the vicinity was a good place to catch souls. On the other hand, Peter knew the lake as a perfect place to catch fish! But the two men ended up with contrasting results. Jesus caught multitudes! People listened and followed him. On the other hand, Peter and his friends caught nothing; they returned to the shore with empty nets.
When Jesus saw Peter, He knew that Peter could do greater things than fishing. Like Peter, we failed to do something for God for we are preoccupied with our own fishing career – satisfying our needs and dreams! Fishing was everything to Peter. But Jesus saw more of him. And the only way to force Peter to move out of his box is to challenge him to “go out into the deep” which may mean doing two things: Going “in” and going “out.”
When we go “in” through prayer and reflection, we discover three things: 1) We are blessed 2) We are loved by God 3) And we could do “greater things” for God. Peter realized these in his encounter with Jesus and found himself overwhelmed and unworthy of God’s love, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)
We usually hear people say that they don’t feel worthy of this or that ministry or service in the church or community. Perhaps they ought to take heart from Peter’s words and Jesus’ response. Peter saw his unworthiness, but Jesus lovingly consoled him and said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (Luke 5:10). Such affirmation from Jesus compels Peter to leave his nets, follow Jesus, and go out into the deep.
Good fishermen don’t stay in the shore. They bravely sail into the deep to catch fish. Christians should not stay inside the four walls of their homes, prayer meetings, convents, and parishes. We should go into the deep – to the borders, frontiers, outcasts and marginalized – be with the people in their needs. Be where brave Christians are. Be at the frontiers where Jesus had trod his feet. This is the cost of discipleship.
Are you still in the shore? What stops you from going into the deep? Is it your unworthiness and the feeling of inadequacy? Let God consoles you as he consoled Isaiah: “I touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged. Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” And with conviction, slowly say, “Here I am Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:7-8).
Are you still in the shore hoping to catch some fish? You will be disappointed. They
are on the streets taking drugs, sleeping in the shanties, dying alone in hospitals, hopeless and confused in prison and in every corner where evil casts his darkness. They need a helping hand or a listening heart to understand them. They need hope and encouragement. Don’t wait for them to come to the church. It may not come. Instead bring God to them through your presence. Bring your “fish nets” (our words and action) and catch some of them for God’s greater glory.
Every day is a fishing expedition. There’s no fish in the shore. You need to sail into the deep. Do not be afraid to give yourself to Jesus. For the more we give ourselves to Jesus, the more His Presence is multiplied for others, two boatloads filled!
Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ / Loyola Marymount University – Los Angeles / 01/07/10