“… They caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.”
Gospel: Luke 5: 1-11
1 Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2 he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7 So they signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” 11 When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Jesus arrived as Simon-Peter, James and John were finishing for the day. However, He asked Simon-Peter to pull his boat out from the shore so He could teach the crowds. After, He instructed Simon-Peter to throw his nets in for a catch. Simon-Peter doubted this action but obeyed Jesus anyway. The catch was so huge that James and John had to come and help. Simon-Peter recognized that this was a miracle and suddenly became aware of his own sin. But Jesus told them “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
One of the essays I wrote for my studies last year was entitled ‘Why has western society lost its sense of sin?” It focused on the spiritual void that we are now experiencing in Europe and the UK. Secularism has had a massive part to play in this. God has even been written out of the European constitution! But when we fail to recognize holiness, how are we to recognize sin? Right and wrong become this ‘grey area’ in which moral relativism begins to rule: Man takes the place of God and decides for himself what is sin and what is not. Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that we have forgotten that sin is something that harms us.
In this week’s Gospel, Simon-Peter has an overwhelming moment of self-realization. When confronted with the enormous catch of fish, Simon-Peter suddenly becomes aware that Jesus has performed a miracle. But it is perhaps the gift of the miracle that provokes such a reaction of humility from him.
God wants to give us so much. More than we could ever comprehend. God’s generosity is limitless and all we can do is to accept it! Perhaps a way to understand this is to remember a time someone bought you a lovely present you really weren’t expecting. At that moment we feel often feel overwhelmed that this person values us so much. Many times you hear people say “I couldn’t possibly accept this, it’s too much, I don’t deserve it!” Well, Simon-Peter was having a similar reaction – except that his reaction was also a moment of self-realization. Simon-Peter had suddenly become acutely aware of God’s holiness, which consequently made him acutely aware of his own sinfulness. With this new found humility, he is able to leave his old life behind and follow Christ with his whole heart. Perhaps as we begin to think about Lent, we too can take time to humbly comprehend the great gift God has given us – His Son.
- Can I recognise holiness?
- Can I recognise sin?
- God’s generosity, love and mercy know no boundaries.
Help me to become more aware of holiness and sin in my day to day life. Open my eyes to holiness and sin at work, with friends, on TV and in my home. Help me to turn away from sin and to realise there is no need to fear when drawing closer to you.
Thank you, I love You Jesus, amen.