Reading Reflections, Fifth Sunday Gospel C

By 11:44 AM


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.

There is a pattern to Jesus’ ministry. He teaches and then confirms his message with a miraculous sign. Or he performs a sign and, having gotten their attention, then teaches. Both sign and word are messages.
In this case, the message was for Simon and his friends as well. What he taught we do not know but it could have been a preparation for the invitation to Simon and companions to become his disciples and follow him.
It was not by accident that he chose Simon’s boat. This was not the first time that Jesus and Simon have met. In John’s Gospel we are told of an initial or preparatory encounter prior to this event.
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." Sometimes we are more comfortable on the shores of life—in our comfort zone. But God calls us to put out into the deep. What is the area in your life that God is calling you to put out into the deep and move away from your comfort zone?
Simon had no clue what was about to happen would be life changing for him. Has God done something in your life that was also life-changing, which you were not prepared for?
What was the first step for Simon and for us? Do what he tells us, even though we do not understand.
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.
What is the second step for Simon and for us? Recognizing our sinfulness and unworthiness and repent.
Peter’s own unworthiness and sinfulness was a block to going deeper in his own life. What is the block in our lives? Can we like Peter acknowledge the block, the area of sin and like Peter not let it be a block any longer?
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. What is the third step? What is an apparent block to us is not an obstacle for Jesus to overcome. This was not the end of the story for Peter or for us.
The miracle was a preview of what Jesus wanted to do it their lives. But they had to be willing to let go their comfort zone and trust in Jesus and follow him no matter the cost. This is what it means to put out into the deep.
Peter and his companions were not perfect when they responded to Jesus’ invitation. They grew in relationship as they spent time with Jesus.
What is the fourth step? We must be willing to surrender and follow the path the Jesus begins to show us in our life.
                   What is God saying to you as you reflect on this passage?

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