Occasion: Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
You can find the full reading here. This Lectio is based on the reading from 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.
Put in to deep water, sinful man, catching men, followed him
“Put out into deep water.” These words are being used by vocational directors, including in my home diocese of Biloxi. It’s often used in Latin, “Duc in altum.”
Sometimes, when we have a feeling of the appropriate path before us, we may question it. Maybe it does not initially make sense to us, as it did not to Simon Peter; “Master, we have worked all night and caught nothing.” Once the path is proven, maybe we become afraid, as Simon Peter did, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Maybe we think we are unworthy, or incapable of the road before us. Maybe we are afraid of letting something go.
Simon Peter is a good role model for us today. We may question a situation, and then become fearful when we see the truth. He followed Jesus, but he had his ups and downs with the journey, as we will see when Lent begins in a few weeks. He would go from high aspirations to low doubts. In the end, Simon Peter, today St. Peter would be given great responsibility by our Lord, because our Lord believed in him, as he believes in us, and asks us to believe in Him in return. We have to trust Him all the way.