Dear Followers of Jesus,
In today’s gospel, Luke 5:1-11, Jesus invites a few men to follow him. However this invitation is not just for Peter, James and John. Jesus invites us into a deeper communion, into a deeper union with him. This is the message we hear in these opening weeks of Ordinary Time. Now that Christmas is past, we are to explore this invitation in our own lives, to expand our understanding of who Jesus is for us and who we are for the world.
In these initial weeks of Ordinary Time, the gospels call us to reflect on Jesus’ authority on earth. We listen again to his beginning stages of ministry after his baptism. These chapters unfold in delight for people who most need healing, love, acceptance and hope. We are no different. We need the same things from Jesus in our lives and in our relationships.
In today’s gospel, Jesus goes to the lake. This is the place where Simon makes his living. The lake is all these men know, since they have been catching fish their entire lives, for the livelihood of their family. Jesus goes to them, standing by them in what is familiar to their daily routine. If Jesus did such a thing for Simon, he will do the same for us. Jesus always moves into what we know first to get our attention. Perhaps this is the year for us to finally understand that Jesus wants the best for us. He wants to heal the rift and mend the relationships where we think Jesus will never show up. Let’s think again about all the ways our lives need God and his love and healing in our lives. Jesus shows us when we are resentful because we have to change another diaper or cook another meal for some pretty unappreciative family members. He shows us in our woodshop or the family business. He makes his way to the machine shop or the accountants office. Just look again and he might very well be standing there along your side.
We can just imagine how Simon must have rolled his eyes at Jesus’ request to cast his net into deeper water. They understood how fishing worked. However, they did not understand how Jesus’ request would change them.
Jesus challenges those initial followers that their future would reside in catching people not fish. Their eyes and expressions must have popped. Well, we are called to use our lives as examples to help people find Jesus, to find them selves and to find love in our world. This is quite the catch and the challenge. We can’t be lax about why we come to church or why we pray. Life is not about our own needs. Our relationship with God is fuel for us to help other people. Nothing less will fit in our nets.
Let us not be afraid to offer our lives to Christ Jesus. Let us not fear when he whispers in our ears to be an example for others.