Daily Reflection – 9/5/19
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.(Luke 5:1-11)
Jesus shows his mastery over the hearts of men (the crowd was “pressing round” him to hear him speak) and over the forces of nature (they caught a “huge number of fish”). Yet when he asks Peter to “put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch,” the future Apostle complains before he obeys. However, many times God shows himself worthy of our trust (creation, the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, the sacraments – what more could he have done to win us over?), we still hesitate to do things his way. We need to acknowledge him as Lord not only with our lips, but with our hearts as well, and with our decisions.
This applies not just to our apostolic endeavors, but it also applies to our moral lives. Many times, the Christian tradition’s teaching on controversial moral issues is hard to understand on a merely natural level, especially when the prevailing culture bombards us with contrary views. In those moments especially, we need to realize that the life we are called to live surpasses our natural capacities. To experience the wonderful action of God’s grace in our lives, we have to bolster our natural understanding with supernatural faith (we need both faith and reason – either one without the other is not Christianity), and then we, like Peter, will draw in a wondrous catch.
We need to remember also that we are called to catch men for Christ. Consider, for a moment, the state of the world around us. Consider this city we are in, and the cities and towns nearby. Consider the frightful nature of the world, of the overflowing cup of evil all around us. Consider the huge numbers of confused and frightened people, darting this way and that, like frightened fishes in a great dark sea. Some, though perhaps not all, would doubtless find peace and joy if they could but find Christ, in the fullness in which we find Him. We need only lower our nets, as Christ bids us, and we can catch them for Him. How do we do this?
We can do it by witnessing for Christ through the lives that we lead. If we are kind, patient, and generous towards our neighbors, that in itself is the beginning of our witness. If we are models of Christian piety in our lives, praying and remaining close to His teachings that too is a witness and will attract a larger catch. Finally, we must not be ashamed of Christ’s Church by hiding it from those around us. Let each of us also put aside all those things that distract us from our real purpose in this life, let us leave those things, as the Gospel says, and, like the Apostles, follow Christ and, in our following, draw others closer to Him.
Prayer of The Day
Deliver us, O Lord, from everything that clouds our understanding of You. We know we cannot see you in Your glory and Your majesty until the end of time; but may we never be satisfied until we have explored every means to know You more and know You better. Give us a thirst for You and for Your will that is never quenched until we see You in glory either on this earth or in the heavens.
Remember that God’s ways are not our ways. Sometimes, when we pray, we end up telling God what He should be doing. And when we hear God talking to us, we think His ideas are bad ideas. When Jesus asks us to do something for Him, we should listen. And through the grace that we receive in our daily living, we should speak as Peter speaks, and say to Jesus, “But if you say so, I will….”