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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

08 September 2023

Lk 5:1-11 ..."Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." ...

Lk 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 boatto 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.


Peter's reaction to the catch of fish is interesting, because he says words that do not quite fit the whole situation: go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. Saint Peter reacts in a strange way to the situations he experiences with Jesus. On Mount Tabor he speaks of building three tents; when Jesus announces his Passion to them, Peter reproaches Him. Why, then, at the catch of fish, does Peter not congratulate Jesus or praise Him for the miracle He performed, but speak of himself as a sinner? What do these words mean? They are an image of the human condition which, when faced with the power and majesty of God, can only fall to its knees and acknowledge its impotence. Because all our spiritual efforts without God's help, without His grace, are just empty running around for nothing. Peter and his companions worked all night, at a time when the fish should be in aboundance, and nothing came of it. It failed not because there were no fish, but because Christ was not there. If we do something in our spiritual life only on our own, sooner or later we will experience emptiness, because it is impossible to put everything on ourselves and our ambitions. Jesus Christ must be there, who will show us the best and surest way, which will bring the best fruit in our lives. Without it, we fall prey to our frustrations. In this passage, Peter's frustration is evident as he gives up and returns to shore. It is visible in the words addressed to Jesus: we worked all night and found nothing. After meeting Jesus, that same frustration turns into motivation and a desire to try one more time. Peter met someone who did not share his frustration, but understood it and encouraged him to act again. He met someone who believed in him, although he himself did not believe in himself and treated himself as the worst sinner. I often like to repeat these words in the confessional: God is not waiting for your frustration, but for your motivation! Because frustration changes nothing in your life, and if you have someone like Jesus by your side, then why doubt yourself? Jesus had a much more ambitious plan for Peter than just catching a few tons of fish. He saw that this sinner could do something greater, much greater than just fishing. You too can do great things if you don't give in to frustration and become discouraged in your faith. Even if you are a sinner, it is already a good base for Jesus, because a sinner has nothing to lose, since he has already lost a lot. Therefore, do not be afraid of your sinfulness, because for Jesus it is not an obstacle, on the contrary, it is a chance to make your life better, and through you to make someone else's life more beautiful.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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