The Gospel Today
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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 the boats 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.
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):
The more I read this Gospel, the more I am convinced that Peter knew, even before he heard, that Jesus asks him to follow and leave behind the world to which he had grown used to.It is not plain in the text but we can pick up such from the verbal exchange between the Lord and Peter. Cephas says, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus answers “Do not be afraid. From now on you will be fishers of men.”
Although I am looking at this exchange through the lens of my own life as a seminarian, I think the insights can still apply to non-seminarians. Simon Peter answers an unasked question: “Would you like to come with me, Peter?” This is not included in Luke’s account but seems to be a soundaddition.
If God asked you to come with him, would you follow? Most believers would say yes. They would also ask, “How would I know that God was asking me to follow him?” The answer lies in prayer and in our daily experiences. If we opened ourselves to our loving Creator in the quiet of our hearts, he would answer. If we looked for him even in the seemingly trivial events in our day, he would not hide.
When we go to Church, do we not feel God’s presence inside the building? When we join Mass, do we not hear God’s word? When we go through one day in our life without accident or mishap, do we not see God’s caring presence with us? When we feel love from our loved ones, do we not feel God’s grander and vast love for us?
Perhaps the time has come for us to treat each moment in our day as precious and as a chance to know God better. When he makes his plan for us clear, we will know it for the reason that we are paying attention.