The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today's Gospel (Luke 4:21-30) is the call of Simon, the fisherman. Simon's response,"depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" is understandably human.
"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,
'Here I am," I said; "send me!'"
"After that, Christ appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me. For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me. Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed."
Would you suppose that the practice of God calling sinful people had ended two thousand years ago? Not at all. As we have heard in Paul's letters over the past few weeks, there are many gifts of the Spirit and many ways in which we are called to serve God. Perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on how God is calling each of us. And perhaps remember the times we ignored the call because in our on way, we said, "Master, depart from me for I am a sinful person". To which, Jesus responds, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men." May we have the grace to hear God's call and, like Isaiah, say "Here I am, send me".
- Click HERE for the full readings for February 7, 2016