Sunday, February 10
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 5: 1 – 11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening
to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
What are we to do when what we have always done is no longer working?
Today’s Gospel carries such an important message for us. It was early morning; the fishermen had been fishing all night and had little to show for it. Jesus gets into one of the boats and urges Peter to go back out and, “Put out into the deep.” They objected but, because Jesus had commanded them to do so, Peter obeyed.
“Put out into the deep” is such a challenging and critical call for us at this moment in history. What are we to do in the face of the complex global, national and religious realities embroiling us today? What are we to do as we face very fragile and volatile economies, escalating acts of terrorism and senseless acts of violence, growing misguided notions of nationalism, advancements in science progressing faster than our code of ethics can address them, explosion of technologies, rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence, climate changes that threaten the survival of the planet as we know it? What are we to do?
What are we to do when the human concerns of immigration and migration are on the rise across the world as well as religious persecution, famine, natural disasters?
What are we to do?
What are we to do when “we have worked all night and have little to show for it”? I like that image: “We have worked all night. We have worked in darkness.” It is time to work in the light for the good of all.
When we first read or heard the gospel today, we might have missed a very important little phrase: “Jesus got into their boat.” It was early morning, “probably the crack of dawn.” It was when the darkness of night was giving way to the light of day. It is time to let Jesus into the boat. It is time to be guided by the light of Christ. For surely, what we have always done is not working and, in some instances, are making things worse. There seems to be little to show for all our efforts. The issues of the day call for something new and demand of us serious thought and reflection. We need to find a newer way of deeply listening to each other. Listening from a place of respect for the other, rather than a position of defensiveness, arrogance or self-interest.
Our times, perhaps more than any other time in history, require the best of our thinking, deep prayer and serious communal reflection and discernment. It is not time to divide the people of the world, but rather, these times call for a gathering of people who have at the heart of their deliberations the COMMON GOOD, the common good for all of God’s people.
We will be building the bridge as we walk across the chasms that have divided us, as we, with Jesus in our boat, “put out into the deep” and struggle again for the deeper meaning of the Our Father. Time to live and act what we profess – God is our father and we are brother and sister to each other. Today and every day we are called to let Jesus into our boat and “put out into the deep” with faith and courage.
Take some time to reflect upon your life and our lives in the world community and ask yourself- “who is in my boat?” Is there any room in my boat for Jesus? Do I need to get rid of some stuff (things, attitudes, biases, fear etc.) to make room for Jesus in the boat?
— Sister Teresa Tuite, OP