September 4, 2014

The Gospel Today

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

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 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):

Pray as if everything depended on you, work as if everything depended on God.  This saying, attributed to Ignatius of Loyola, reminds me that conversing or relating with God necessitates an honesty that is both vulnerable and meek, that is, child-like.  Yet, living out this relationship with God necessitates absolute trust.  It is His world that we live in, all things are under his purview, and He never leaves us.  The “wisdom of this world [that] is absurdity with God,” referred to in the First Letter to the Corinthians, is a haughtiness brought about by pride.  It is pride that the first disciples, in the Gospel according to Luke, rid themselves when they decide to follow Jesus’ instruction to cast the net once more.

We have our monthly Penitential Service where priests are available for us to confess our sins.  In the seminary, we may receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis.  However, outside these walls, the number of faithful who have not gone to confession is staggering.  In my home parish, I know of many volunteers who go to confession only during the season of Lent.  Yet the number of souls who have neglected this grace from God is more numerous still.  Some tell me it is not priestly shortage hindering them from confession.  What stops them is their self-knowledge that they will keep committing the same sins repeatedly.  In their mind, there is no use going to confession if they know that they cannot promise eternal self-control.  However, self-control is only a small part of the sacrament of reconciliation.  The bigger part is reunion with our loving God, who initiates this meeting by giving us His Son.  Jesus the Christ suffered and died for us once and for all time.  Whenever we go to confession, we acknowledge the love of God, we let go of our pride, and we allow Jesus to give us life in abundance.

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