The daily mass readings were wonderful today. The fifth Chapter of Luke tells the magnificent story of Peter having fished all night to no avail. When Jesus had finished speaking to the crowds he recommended Simon put out into the deep water and let down (the) nets for a catch. Peter is somewhat skeptical but because it is Jesus who asks he lets down the nets. When Simon Peter sees how many fish are caught–to the point of breaking the nets–he falls at the feet of Christ and asks Jesus to leave him because he is a sinful man.
Jesus has a different idea and commissions Simon to catch people now. Jesus sees our potential. He does not see our limits and our excuses. Jesus knows what we are capable of through His power. If we listen to His voice and act upon it, even when we might doubt, miracles can happen. Jesus can use us to point the way for others. People will leave everything and follow Christ, just as they did 2000 years ago. We need to work in tandem with Jesus though–Peter had fished all night but had caught nothing before following Christ’s instructions.
The First Reading of Colossians 1: 9-14 talks about how the community is being upheld by the prayers of the Apostles, who ask for spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. The writer stresses that they will be made strong from Christ’s power. Here too, one gets the sense that God sees fruit that has not yet ripened but is already fully pleasing.
We are made whole and beautiful. Peter recognized his failings and weaknesses and reacted with humility, asking Jesus to leave him. We all feel unworthy at times in our lives. We want to serve, we want to love, and we want to be builders of the Kingdom, but we fall short. Today’s readings remind us that God has the whole picture and believes in us. When we yoke ourselves to Christ, we can do so much more than we ask or imagine.
The world has reacted with horror and compassion to the photo of a refugee boy who drowned when the boat he was on capsized. I have not seen any hate messages in what I have read. No one has said this Syrian boy deserved to die. On the contrary, hearts have been crushed with sorrow, watching as he is lifted from the sandy beach and carried behind a rock. Our collective humanity weeps as we recognize that this is a child, not a migrant or terrorist. This is a wee one who deserved a life away from war and strife. This toddler is recognized as innocent. His Canadian auntie spoke today, scarring more hearts, as she shared her dashed dreams for the boy she had hoped might arrive here one day. We should be filled with shame at governments around the world who play with words, avoid casting nets that capture more than enough, and forget what is fully pleasing to God.
We need people like Peter to collapse at the feet of Jesus and say we are sinful. Then we need to stand back and see the plan that God has to build the Kingdom. We need to not be afraid to catch these people before more atrocities unfold. Yes, we need to deal with the root cause but in the meantime, we need to cast our nets and do something so that a miracle will happen. God is watching.
When God looks at you, what does God find fully pleasing?
Where is Jesus asking you to cast your net?
Go away from us, Lord,
for we are a sinful people.
We have enough but we cannot share.
You need builders and fishers
but we cannot imagine that you mean us.
Show us, Jesus, your divine plan
of building the Kingdom with us.
Help us to go out into the deep
and not remain moored to the shoreline.
Let us cast our nets into humanity
and not be afraid of what we might catch.
We still need to do whatever you tell us.
Speak, Lord, we are listening.