5th SUNDAY OF THE ORDINARY YEAR: LUKE 5: 1-11
The Gospel once more brings us to the seaside, where Peter is casting a net. Peter and his companions are tired and frustrated from casting their nets all night long and have caught nothing. During their tiredness and disappointments, Jesus came and said to Peter: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter could have responded by saying: “Jesus of Nazareth, Son of a carpenter, what do you know about fishing? You might be good at preaching, but this is my specialty and I know what I am doing.” Instead, Peter trusted and listened to Jesus and followed His command Peter put the net into deep water, and they caught a great number of fish.
The good news of today’s gospel is that our sinfulness — our pride and self-centeredness – does not keep God away. Our God is a God, who gives sinners a new start. It is important that we acknowledge our sinfulness, but we must then rise above it by trusting in the power of God. One, who is willing and available to throw into deep waters, will catch more, while others will remain in the empty boat facing the storm waters. The important thing is we need total trust in God!
Let me share with you a story: Once upon a time, there was a king who was kind and took care of his people well. He had a minister who had great faith in God and would always say that whatever happens, happens for the good. The king never believed this. Once the King cut his finger and, as usual, the minister said that all happens for good. Hearing this, the king got quite angry and put the minister into prison. Even this time also, the minister smiled and said, “Whatever happens, happens for the good! Thank you, God,
A few days later, the king went hunting in the jungle, by himself. As the king was hunting, soon he lost in the forest and landed in the enemy’s tribal kingdom. They tied King to a tree. Let this man be sacrificed to our tribal god! After all, preparations were made, the tribal Guru came to inspect the King and saw the King had a bandage on his finger. Seeing this, the Guru said to the tribal head, “This person had already cut on his finger. We need someone whose whole body is without any cuts. Thus, this person unfit to be sacrificed and let him go back.”
Happy, due to the narrow escape from death, the king returned to his kingdom, remembering his wise minister’s words that even the finger getting cut was for the good. Upon his return, he immediately ordered the minister’s release and welcomed him back in his position as the royal minister. Then the king said to the minister, “I now believe that everything happens for our good, as my life was saved because of the cut finger. But, what about you? How can you explain that it was good for you?”
The minister replied, “As you had put me in prison, I was not able to accompany you on your hunting trip. If I had been there with you, the tribal people would have taken me along with you and would have definitely sacrificed me to their God, as I do not have a cut finger!” This way I was saved too. That is what I believe!
The moral message is: God did not punish you, God was preparing you. Trust in God’s plan! We should trust in God and believe that whatever happens, happens to us for good. If we follow this simple message, then we will stop worrying too much, and it would make our lives Happier! Let us have Trust in God and God’s will! Do not be afraid!
There are times in our lives when even our best efforts come up to nothing. During such times, we should open our eyes and ears to God, who challenges us to lower our nets out into deep waters, so that the empty boats of our lives are filled to the edge. Some of us may say that we have been going to church and hearing Mass. We have been praying to heal our loved ones. But it seems that we do not get a catch and we get disappointed and tired like Peter. Then we say: “Lord you are not listening to my prayers! Like Peter, I have been casting my net all night. All night long I have been fishing. I have not seen the results of my prayers.” At the height of our frustration, the Lord tells us: “Put your net into the deep sea. You will be catching a miraculous number of fishes.”
The problem with us is that we give up when grace is about to be given to us. The problem with us is that we give up fishing when the Lord is already there, telling us to throw into the sea. The problem with us is that we have become victims of discouragement, and we have started to doubt the value of our own prayers.
Peter, Paul, and Isaiah doubted, and the Lord called them and told them: “Come after me, I will make you fishers of men. Come after me, I will make you instruments of saving other people from the evil one that resides under the sea. You have fished all your life; you have fished all these years, and you have prayed and sacrificed, do not be discouraged. Now is the time. Cast your net into the deep waters.”
Let us be ready to listen to the challenge of the Lord to: “Cast your nets into the deep sea.” The Lord is with us in the Eucharist with his promising words: “Now is the time to fish!” Are we ready to throw into the deep?