Wednesday, January 31, 2007

February 4, 2007 ~ Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 5:1-11

1: While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret. 2: And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3: Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4: And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5: And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." 6: And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, 7: they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8: But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." 9: For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10: and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." 11: And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

For Reflection and/or Discussion

What a compassionate and creative God we have! Jesus knew the crowds could not see or hear Him well, so He climbed into a boat and preached from the lake. The crowds that were pressing around Him probably looked like today’s fans and reporters surrounding a Hollywood superstar, each desperate for just a glance, a smile, or even a touch. Or maybe they looked more like children, my children. “Mom, come look! You have to see this!” “Mom, tell me about {insert random subject here} now!” “Mama! Mama! Mama!” “Up! Up! Up!” Their desire for attention is insatiable. What about our desires? Do we desire Jesus like His fans at Gennes’aret? Do we crowd around His Word and His Body & Blood like paparazzi or hungry children? His Word is eternal. When is the last time I got excited to pray or spend time with Scripture?

Then, there are the fish. Despite his doubt, Simon Peter obeys the Lord, and the blessings are immediate. In fact, the blessings are so abundant that they overflow “to their partners in the other boat!” Do we expect this kind of abundance from God? A friend commented just yesterday that when we worry and doubt about God’s ability to provide for us, we are implying God has failed us in the past. What child, she shared, would question her earthly father’s ability to feed or clothe her? Don’t our children have confidence in our husbands? Do we have that same childlike confidence in our Heavenly Father? What blessings has God given me that have astonished me and proven His generosity? Even if we don’t deserve His gifts, they are given. How often do we demonstrate this to our children with our generosity towards them?

Finally, what would have happened if Simon Peter and his friends were modern-day businessmen? Perhaps the story would have a different ending: “Wow! Jesus, you are an amazing fisherman! Let’s do this every day. We’ll take the boat out; you catch the fish. The profits will be amazing!” But, instead “they left everything,” even the fish. Are we willing to leave behind everything for the Lord? What “fish” are we clinging to when instead we should cling to Christ? Are we courageous enough to completely follow God’s will if it means giving up blessings? God’s generosity is waiting to bless us ever more abundantly if we will just obey Him completely and leave behind all earthly attachments. The fish are great, but… This may be a good time to personally reflect and discuss as a family upcoming Lenten sacrifices. Do my children understand that Jesus calls us to sacrifice the good for what is better? Are they – am I – willing to give it all up?

Trust all things to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are. ~ Saint John Bosco