This weekend we celebrate the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time. In today’s Gospel passage from Luke, we hear the familiar story about Jesus who is standing on the shore of Lake Genneserat and is surrounded by a crowd pressing in on him. (If you are wondering about the name of this lake, in the New Testament it has also been referred to as the Sea of Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee). Jesus notices two boats aside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and are washing their nets. Jesus gets into one of the boats (belonging to Simon) and asks him to go out a little distance from shore. After teaching the crowds, he tells Simon to lower the nets for a catch. Simon and the others tell him they have been at it all night with no success, but at his command they will do as Jesus tells them. They catch such a great number of fish that the nets begin tearing, and even two boats can hardly contain them. Reflecting upon this Gospel could have one go into several different directions. It is related to the call of Simon Peter. In Luke’s Gospel, he focuses on Simon alone (without his brother Andrew). In the three other Gospels, Simon and his brother, Andrew, are called together by Jesus. In today’s account, this was not Simon’s first encounter with Jesus. Immediately prior to this story, Luke tells us about the cure of Simon’s mother-in-law. Simon Peter has encountered the power of Jesus in two ways: healing and a miraculous catch of fish. Peter realizes that there is something very special about Jesus (his divinity, perhaps), and as he looks at his own humanity, in humility, Simon Peter says, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” While he is feeling unworthy, Jesus says to him, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” The Gospel passage ends by telling us that Simon and those fishermen with him, brought their boats to shore and left everything to follow Jesus. No matter what our vocation from God is, we know that he is always present to us, and continues to reveal his presence through his Son Jesus, in the sacraments, in the Scriptures, in our personal prayer, through other people, and in both the ordinary and significant events in our lives. As we reflect upon our lives and our own call, let us ask ourselves, what we have freely left behind or “let go of” to follow Jesus. Let us also reflect upon the times in which Christ worked through us: in times of weakness or want, at times when we were afraid, or in those moments when we felt we had little or nothing to give to others, to our families, or to our ministry.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ