Scripture: 1st Reading: Col1,9-14; Resp. Psalm: Ps98,2-6; Gosp. Accl.: Mt4,19; Gospel: Luke5,1-11
The miracle of the great catch of fish and the eventual call of Peter, James and John is one of the most profound in the New Testament. By virtue of its setting, there was no way the miracle of the great catch of fish at the lake of Gennesaret would not have changed lives because of its power and depth and the situation of hopelessness and dejection that preceded and enveloped it. It filled its billing when it dramatically changed the lives of Simon, James and John from that day and forever. After that miracle, their lives were no longer the same.
They had toiled all night with all their professional expertise at fishing. They had used all their human wisdom to make a living all through the night. Nothing came. No fish "nimbled" at their net. Nothing. They were failures and would have nothing to take home to their families.
This was where our Lord came in. He saw their dejection, disappointments and failure. He saw their physical tiredness and exhaustion. But there was something else He saw: He saw the exhaustion in their souls! He saw in these three men great searchers for the truth. He saw in them great desire to know and serve God in spirit and truth. He saw them as raw, uncut diamonds whose love would be pivotal to the great enterprise He was about to begin. He saw fire in their eyes.
Our Lord therefore used what they were accustomed to, which was fishing, to invite them to what they never knew and were never accustomed to: the search for lost souls and the preaching for the kingdom. They had toiled all night and caught nothing. This was Peter's response to our Lord's command that they let down their nets for a catch.
We can understand Peter's response from the backdrop of the practise among the ancients that night was the best time for fishing, not daytime. We can also understand why Peter, a professional fisherman, who had caught nothing, would have found our Lord's command a bit strange. But in spite of this, Peter did something strange: against all odds, he believed in the words of this itinerant preacher and obeyed Him. Miracle followed this obedience of faith.
The miracle was so overwhelming that Peter could bit contain himself and professed his sinfulness in the presence of such divine holiness. But our Lord was not interested in the catch of fish. For Him, it was a sign that should lead to other things: the call of Peter and his companions to discipleship and the work of the gospel.
So our Lord called him: "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men." The response of Peter and James and John to the electrifying presence of divinity was immediate and spontaneous: "when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him."
Miracles do happen everyday. God is still at work every second of our lives, working out His designs. Miracles happen around us every second of the day. Do we still see them? The problem is that we have been inundated with false, man-made and arranged "miracles" that we no longer see the extraordinary in the ordinary.
The word calls us today to contemplate the goodness of God who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. It calls us to see our being as extraordinary, our call to be believers as a great privilege, our eyes and ears as blessed for they see what they see and hear what they hear, because many prophets and holy men wanted to see what we see and did not see them, and to hear what we hear but did not hear them.
This is where the word in today's first reading comes in for our edification. The word of God there prays that we may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, "to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Let us pray: God of all goodness, power and might, strengthen us with your power. Give us endurance, patience and joy so that always and everywhere, we may continue to give thanks to you for qualifying us to share in the inheritance of your saints in light and removing us from the dominion of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of your beloved Son, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of our sins. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.