September 2, 2021
Thursday of the Twenty-second Week 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.
I love the Bible. I love Jesus. But I especially love the gentle thunder – the velvet explosions of the lessons of Jesus we can miss because they are so subtle.
Today’s Gospel is a great example.
Notice how Jesus recognizes and then separates himself from the chaos of what is happening on the shore. He can’t be as effective with all that noise in the crowd. Imagine everyone asking, “What did he say?” “What did he mean?” And all the jostling trying to get closer.
Jesus then goes to the boat of Simon and asks him to move a bit off the shore. He separates himself from all the chaos. Then his message can be heard by all – not just a small cadre of people close to him.
He is just far enough away that we see him as something more – not quite like us.
Then he does something even more when he tells Simon to move into the deeper water.
Simon does what we all do from time to time – he limits, in his mind, what God can do. He tells Jesus it isn’t worth it because they have fished all night and have caught nothing. He says, if Jesus insists, he will do it.
When they cast their nets, the nets are so burdened with fish they are ripping apart. This requires that Simon and Andrew call to James and John – the brothers Zebedee – to come and help.
Jesus wants us to trust him and go deeper – thereby discovering the greatness within us.
When Peter asks Jesus to move away from him because Simon is a sinner – Jesus tells him not to be afraid.
Jesus is calling them to become Evangelist – the first of many – and become fishers of men.
Don’t limit God. Go deeper.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…