February 6th, 2022
The 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Gospel (Lc 5,1-11):
One day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around him listening to the word of God, He caught sight of two boats left at the water’s edge by the fishermen now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He sat and continued to teach the crowd.
When He had finished speaking He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch”. Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets”. This they did and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats almost to the point of sinking. Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”. For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made and so were Simon’s partners, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on”. So they brought their boats to land and followed him, leaving everything.
“Put out into deep water”
Today, we are still surprised at how those fishermen were capable of leaving everything behind, their job, their families, to follow Jesus (“They brought their boats to land and followed him, leaving everything”: Lk 5:11), precisely when He manifested himself before them as an exceptional collaborator for the business which they lived from. If Jesus of Nazareth would make the same proposal to us, in our 21st century…, would we have as much courage as those other men had?; should we be able to sense which is the true gain for us?
We Christians believe that Christ is ever present; this resurrected Christ, therefore, requests us, not only to Peter, John or James, but to George, Joe, Paula, and all of us who accept him as our Lord, that we accept him —from Luke’s text— in the boat of our life for He wants to rest by our side; He requests us to let him make use of us, to allow him to show us where He wants to guide our existence to, so we can become productive amid a society which every day is more far away and in need of God’s Good News. The proposal is quite attractive, we need only to know how are we, and if we really wish, to manage to get rid of our fears, of our worries about what people may “say” or “think” and set a course for deeper waters, or what is equivalent, to horizons which may be farther away than those restricting our quotidian mediocrity of anguish and disappointments. “He who stumbles on his way, no matter how little he moves forward, always gets somewhat closer to the end of his journey; but he who runs out of his way, the more he runs the farther he gets from the end of his trip” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
“Duc in altum”; “To pull out a little from the shore” (Lk 5:4): let us try not to rest by the shore of a world that lives by contemplating its navel! Our navigation through the seas of life has to take us towards the harbor on the promise land, the end of our course in this Heaven long waited for, which is a gift from the Father, but, indivisible too, the work of man —yours, mine— from the service to others in the Church’s boat. Christ knows quite well the fishing grounds; it all depends upon us: or in our harbor of selfishness, or towards his horizons.
Fr. Pedro IGLESIAS Martínez
(Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)