Vocation Meditation -
February 6, 2010
While Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the Word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
Jesus 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. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!"
For Simon Peter and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken 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." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.
We find Jesus beside the lake of Gennesaret. The last time we heard him preach was when he was in the synagogue, now he is at the lakeside. We are introduced to the turning point of Jesus' career. The time has come when the door of the synagogue will be closed to his preaching. His church will now be the plains, the homes of friends and even of sinners, the lakeside, the open roads and his pulpit, a boat! He would go anywhere where people would listen to him and hear the Word of God!
Jesus was also ready and willing to offer everyone the gift of a miracle. Luke records the conditions of a miracle.
There in Him is the eye that sees. Most likely, Jesus' discerning and watchful eye saw the signs of a big catch. It was a timely offer to the weary fishermen who had labored the night without success. They must have eyes that seize possibilities. In Jesus, they found another eye and a push to throw their nets out again, farther into the deep waters where their chance of a miracle awaits.
There is required the spirit that makes an effort. Tired as he was and as his friends were, Peter was ready to try again and test the waters, as Jesus directed him. He gave himself a second chance.
There is required a spirit that attempts what seems to be hopeless. When the night was past and the time for fishing was over, Peter knew that the circumstances for a catch were unfavourable. Human efforts easily give up. There is no need to wait for the perfect match to our needs. If we want a miracle, an answer to our prayer, we must take Jesus at His word. He bids us to believe and to hope before the impossible.
The miracle of the catch of fish did not end there. The real miracle happened in the lives of these first recruits of Jesus! Because they obeyed the invitation of Jesus to test the waters of their faith and their generosity, they faced the turning points of their career. They followed the Master and became the first 'fishers of men' in the Church.
"Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch."
What were the turning points of my life that made me launch out "into the deep"?
You have come to the seashore of my life. You see my efforts, my labors, my joys, my needs. You also see what lies before me and the needs of Your Church. Call me, bid me to test the waters of my vocation. I believe and hope in Your Word. Humbled by Your call, I thank you. Now, I give my best. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.