Dear Followers of Jesus,
Luke 5:1-11 is a text with deep meaning and power for even our day. Jesus is among a crowd that is pressing in on him. Jesus took advantage of an empty boat so that he could teach the crowd with some perspective. He taught the word of God from the boat. The boat already becomes a place of hope. On the insecurity of the water, Jesus reassures Simon and others that he is a rock, a place of safety and a place of trust.
Jesus meets Simon directly in his place of work, on the water that yields a living for Simon and his family. On the boat, Simon knows well the workplace. He understands the ins and outs of being a fisherman. He knows intuitively where the fish are and where they are not. Simon is in charge on these waters. Simon knows how to fish and how to sustain the work to make money for his family and their survival.
After Jesus’ teaching, Jesus tells Simon to put his net into deep water and lower the nets for a catch. Now, you can just see Simon’s exhausted face. Simon must have been really frustrated because Jesus was invading his territory. I can just see Simon rolling his eyes at Jesus. He knows the water and the fish. He is exhausted and just wants to call it a day. Instead, something inside Simon knows that Jesus has a message for him. I want to know how the Holy Spirit worked in him at that moment. What convinced him to listen to Jesus and not his own tired body and rather deflated spirit? Somehow, a light went on in Simon. He decided to listen to Jesus and so he cast the net into deeper water.
Then a visible miracle appeared. The net was full of fish. Simon’s eyes must have been as big as saucers. Listening to Jesus worked out! Simon could hardly pull his big catch of fish into the boat. Simon called other fishermen for help. The boat was so loaded, it was in danger of sinking. Simon fed on the beauty of his trust in Jesus. He surrendered to the beauty of Jesus’ request, and it worked out.
So, I wonder what we can learn from this simple scene? In the center of our lives, we know our routines, how to make a living, how to sort out our day, our time, and our work. We are often tired, exhausted, and spent from being in charge and working our way into another day’s routine. Can we learn what Simon learned? Can we trust our lives to Jesus no matter how we want to control our lives and our work? We even want to control our lives of faith. We want to make sure Jesus is a sure thing before we are willing to cast a net or a job or a career in his direction.
This simple scene teaches us to surrender to God. We, too, must learn to listen. We must learn to trust Jesus. We must learn to let go of our preconceived notions about life and just toss our nets into deeper water. This is where Jesus’ abundance is. This is where Jesus’ love is… in letting go of our control, our pride, and our predicted outcomes.
Simon will become Peter. He will be the Rock. He will be given the Keys to the Kingdom. In this simple work-a-day scene, we see Simon trusting the voice that is inside of him… the voice of Jesus who challenges us beyond our imagining. Simon will be given even more responsibilities. He will be catching greater things than fish.
God give you peace,
Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor