The Gospel according to Luke (5:1-11)
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.
Opening Prayer: Good and gracious God, help us to trust that you always know what we need and can change the course of our lives if we listen and follow you. We are blessed to be gathered in your net. May we be inspired to cast ours and help you by leaving behind all that can prevent us from seeking your grace.
Encountering Christ: I have read, heard, and watched portrayals of this turning point in the life of Simon Peter many times. But a recent experience, watching this scene in the fourth episode of season 1 of the series The Chosen, has affected me in a new and significant way. When we read the gospels, like much of scripture, we are offered a certain amount of details. We can fill in what is missing with information from an endless number of sources. Holy Scripture has been studied, interpreted, and presented by many more intelligent and qualified people than I. However, that should not prevent us from allowing our minds to imagine. Imagine what? All that will help us capture the grace God offers.
In The Chosen’s portrayal of Simon Peter, we find a man who has many responsibilities and challenges. He is a family man trying to provide while walking a tightrope trying to live his faith in the midst of plenty of turmoil. He, like many of us, loses his focus until Jesus comes directly to him and engages him in his ministry. At first Simon Peter is perturbed and not interested but then Jesus captures his attention then his heart with a miracle. He provides a way out of the turmoil then invites him to join him in his mission to save souls.
Does this sound familiar. It should. We have all been at a crossroads where we lost our focus and turned all our attention and energy inward. We pushed forward determined to overcome the obstacles in front of us with pure determination excluding the only one who can really make a difference. Then in a moment of awareness and clarity Jesus performs a miracle and puts us on a different path. One that leads to the realization that God provides all we need to fulfill our purpose. To be a part of his kingdom and to help others to the realization that God loves them and wants them to share in his glory.
Yet how often do we neglect to invite Jesus into our boat as he patiently waits for us. We find ourselves at these crossroads repeatedly in our lifetime. It is a recurring scenario of neglect, sometimes despair, then an awakening to the grace of God in His son Jesus Christ that brings us back to who we are meant to be. But one element I have not mentioned is when we get on our knees and ask Jesus to depart from us because we know who we are. It is at this moment when the real miracle occurs, when I imagine Jesus holding me gently by the elbows while he pulls me up so we are face to face. He looks deep into my eyes and says your sins are forgiven because I love you too much to leave you here
;follow me. I melt, weak at the knees, scared, excited, and filled with hope that the one who calls me truly loves me and wants to be a part of my life.
Cut! That’s a wrap!! No, not really. Stayed tuned for much, much more.
Closing Prayer: Dear Jesus, you come to us with so much to offer. Help us to not get lost in our struggles and lose our focus. Fill our nets with the souls you bring into our lives. May our nets be bound together with your love, mercy, and compassion so we can encourage our brothers and sisters to follow you.
Action for the Day: Use your imagination to fill in the details of this gospel passage. How does this turn out? What is your encounter with Jesus like on that shore? Allow your senses to feel his gentle touch and warm embrace. Now, cast your net and trust Jesus. He will provide.