Thursday - Ordinary Time
1) Opening prayer
every good thing comes from you.
Fill our hearts with love for you,
increase our faith,
and by your constant care
protect the good you have given us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 5,1-11
Now it happened that Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats at the water’s edge. The fishermen had got out of them and were washing their nets.
He got into one of the boats - it was Simon’s - and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ Simon replied, ‘Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled both boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely awestruck at the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.’
Then, bringing their boats back to land they left everything and followed him.
● In today’s Gospel we have the call of Jesus to Peter. The Gospel of Mark places the call of the first disciples after the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus (Mk 1, 16-20). Luke after that the fame of Jesus was already extended across the whole region (Lk 4, 14). Jesus had cured many people (Lk 4, 40) and had preached in the Synagogues of all the country (Lk 4, 44). The people looked for him and the crowds pushed him on all sides in order to hear the Word of God (Lk 5, 1). Luke makes more understandable the call. In the first place, Peter can listen to the words of Jesus to the people. And then he is a witness of the miraculous catch of fish. It is only after this double surprising experience that he understands the call of Jesus. Peter responds, he abandons everything and becomes a “fisherman of men”.
● Luke 5, 1-3: Jesus teaches from the boat. People look for Jesus in order to listen to the Word of God. Many persons get together around Jesus, they make a throng around him. And Jesus seeks help from Simon Peter and from some of his companions who had just returned from fishing. He goes into the boat with them and responds to the expectation of the people, communicating to them the Word of God. Sitting down, Jesus takes the attitude of a Teacher and speaks from a fisherman’s boat. The novelty consists in the fact that he teaches, not only in the Synagogue for a choice public but in any place, where there are people who wish to listen, even on the seashore.
● Luke 5, 4-5: “But if you say so, I will pay out the nets”. When he had finished speaking, he addresses himself to Simon and encourages him to fish again. In Simon’s response there is frustration, tiredness and discouragement: “Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing!” But trustful in Jesus’ word, they throw in the nets again and continue the struggle. The word of Jesus has greater force for them than the experience of frustration of that night!
● Luke 5, 6-7: The result is surprising. The catch is so abundant that the nets are about to tear and the boat begins to sink. Simon needs the help of John and of James who are in the other boat. Nobody is complete in himself, alone. One community has to help the other. The conflict among the communities, both at the time of Luke as well as today, should be overcome in order to attain a common objective, which is the mission. The experience of the force of the word of Jesus which transforms is the axis around which the differences are embraced and overcome.
● Luke 5, 8-11: “Be fishermen of men”. The experience of the closeness of God in Jesus makes Peter understand who he is: “Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man!” Before God we are all sinners. Peter and his companions are afraid and, at the same time, they feel attracted to Jesus. Jesus drives away fear: “Do not be afraid!” He calls Peter and commits him to the mission, ordering him to be a fisherman of men. Peter experiences, quite concretely, that the word of Jesus is like the word of God. It is capable to bring about what it affirms. In Jesus those rough and tough labourers will have an experience of power, of courage, of trust. And so then, “they will abandon everything and follow Jesus!” Up until now it was only Jesus who announced the Good News of the Kingdom. Now other persons will be called and involved in the mission. This way in which Jesus works, in ‘equipe’, in a team is also Good News for the people.
● The episode of the catch of fish along the lake indicates the attraction and the force of the Word of Jesus. He attracts people (Lk 5, 1). He urges Peter to offer his boat to Jesus to be able to speak (Lk 5, 3). The word of Jesus is so strong that it overcomes the resistance in Peter, it convinces him to throw the nets into the sea again and there is the miraculous catch (Lk 5, 4-6). It overcomes in him the will to leave Jesus and attracts him to become a “fisherman of men” (Lk 5, 10). This is the way the Word of God acts in us, up until now!
4) Personal questions
● Where and how does the miraculous catch of fish take place today; the one which takes place paying attention to the word of Jesus?
● And they leaving everything followed Jesus. What do I have to leave in order to follow Jesus?
5) Concluding Prayer
Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh?
Who shall take a stand in his holy place?
The clean of hands and pure of heart,
who does not swear an oath in order to deceive. (Ps 24,3-4)