This Sunday the readings talk about the call. We have the call of Isaiah and of the first disciples. Paul also refers to his calling. And certainly, there’s another one, though only implied; yours and mine. Let’s see then how the word of God confirms and encourages us.
Isaiah 6: 1–8
Psalm 138: 1–5, 7–8
1 Corinthians 15: 1–11
Luke 5: 1–11
Oh, poor me!
The feeling of insufficiency is a common reaction we see among those who are called. God, despite his splendour and grandeur, addresses himself to a mere mortal man which makes Isaiah exclaim: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” It’s the same with Paul in the second reading, no doubt proud of his vocation, yet, he sees himself as “the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle” And Peter too says to Jesus: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”. This is not false humility; these men have experienced the unimaginable.
Each in his way, experiences God who stoops to address him a word of invitation. The Gospel is even more striking. Which head of an enterprise, looking for human resources, would settle for those with glaring marks of failure? We can only take a leaf and affirm, indeed, it’s not just some beautiful phrase we read in the bible -it’s for real: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9). When we feel too fragile to make a step, there God’s bounty takes over and shines in us. Indeed, teach us Lord to count on you; on you alone!
Want to try again?
We can imagine the scene, it must have been not the brightest one. The plans and the promises that may have been made on the prospective of that night’s catch just couldn’t work. You can appreciate then that it’s more than just about energy wasted. Naturally, you expect a gloomy cloud hovering the scene of washing the nets. And there you have a feel of the state in which Jesus finds Peter and his friends. Later he tells them, after using Peter’s boat for preaching: “Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.” Of course, Peter does it but, I guess, not without hesitation, knowing the fruitless labour of whole night he just went through. Besides, isn’t he better informed about his trade than anyone else? Nevertheless, letting go of his good reasons, he trusts Jesus’ word. And the catch is incredible!
Oh, but that sounds close!
Indeed! That’s not just a beautiful story we read about; it’s close to us and it’s in our present-day experience. We know in our lives not only the feeling, but also concrete events, that we can call a fiasco after which we may have said to ourselves, never again! And ever since, possibly, our only security and consolation is wading in shallow waters. We fear and hesitate to venture. That’s why Jesus’ invitation to Peter, and his friends, to advance into deep waters may be a pat on our back to make a little more courageous strides in our life.
Think of the efforts you may have invested into your profession, business, family or relationship; perhaps today you have all the reasons to wash your hands and say -never again! Of course, you have well founded reasons. But, despite all that, will you be willing to let go of your good reasons and give a chance, in total trust, to Jesus’s word to bring fruition into your life? He’s inviting you; advance into deep water and lower your net.
Call, leaving the boat and nets
After that big catch, follows Jesus’s call to Peter and his friends to another trade; becoming fishers of men. They leave their boats and nets to follow Jesus. Responding to his call demands liberty with its double sides; the liberty to break from some past that clutters your life and the liberty to embrace the new calling. What boats and nets, you may wonder, am I to leave behind?
You think perhaps of material things weighing heavily on you, or you may fall into accusing yourself for some sin committed…indeed, the list of boats and nets is endless -it all depends on each person. However, in the light of the call accounts of this Sunday, we can add another item -good reasons!
I have good reasons to convince myself that I can’t do it; I have a good reasons to believe that it’s not worthwhile doing it; I have good reasons to say it’s a waste of time; I have good reasons to say it won’t work; yes, we have good reasons, good reasons and good reasons of not doing what we are supposed to do and what we are capable of doing. And it’s the challenge for Isaiah, Paul and Peter to put aside their good reasons and their feeling of powerlessness in order to trust.
But first thing first!
It begins first with an encounter. Isaiah, Paul, Peter and his friends come to discover the enabling generosity of God only after an encounter of some kind with him, each one in his own way. Without crossing paths with the Lord, we miss the benefit of his empowering call. He’s ever there; I only need to make myself available for the rendezvous with him.
Then, there’s only one grace to ask for; that in my daily schedule I may not be too busy to meet the Lord.
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