A lot of Fish and a lot of Mercy

Feb 5, 2019

Gospel Reflection, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 6: 1-2a, 3-8; 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11; Luke 5: 1-11

A lot of Fish and a lot of Mercy

 Place yourself in Peter’s shoes for a moment.  Jesus is with him in the boat teaching the crowds on shore.  Who is this Jesus, he might have asked to himself.  Then Jesus says to him, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”  Peter had considerable doubt that it would do any good, since they had caught nothing all night long.  But he had some amount of trust in this great teacher even at that point.  We can imagine his heart racing from the effort and emotion, gasping for breath as he made his way through the fish to where Jesus was sitting in the stern.  He was approaching Jesus and perhaps this seemed unbearable because they were so different.  Yet it probably seemed to him that Jesus’ presence was an absolute gift to him.

He realized his unworthiness before him in being petty, false, angry, greedy, proud or vile, but now all of this had become a nauseating heap.  Imagine barely being able to raise your eyes to Jesus, kneeling before him and saying, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  How often have we shied away from getting really close to him because we feel this way?  But he called him “Lord”.  And we can imagine how as these words dissipated and the moment passed that he understood that these words too were false.

When we come close to him, we recognize the truth of his mercy about ourselves and that he wants us to be forgiven so that we can follow him and live in him.  “Do not be afraid: from now on you will be catching men.”  Are we ready to leave everything in order to follow these words?  Peter and the others found them compelling enough to leave everything and follow him when they brought their boats to shore.  Let us place our lives before His loving, merciful healing presence.  Let us allow ourselves to hear these words most especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to let them ring in our hearts in our prayers. 

Father Tony