EQUIPPED TO CATCH SOULS FOR HIS KINGDOM
(A biblical reflection on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year C], 7 February 2016)
Gospel Reading: Luke 5:1-11
First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-2a,3-8; Psalms: Psalm 138:1-5,7-8; Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (or 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,11)
While the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And He saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, He asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when He had ceased speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. (Luke 5:1-11 RSV)
Upon Jesus’ command, Simon dropped his nets into the sea and hauled out a colossal shoal of fish. The enormous catch stunned Simon, who had caught nothing the previous night. In the face of such a miracle, Simon realized he was in the presence of the Lord, and he knew the Lord could see his sin. Humbled and frightened by this realization, Simon fell to his knees in repentance. But Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10).
Like Simon Peter, the prophet Isaiah also had a revelation of the Lord that humbled and terrified him: “Woe is me! For I am lost … for my eyes have seen … the LORD” (Isaiah 6:5). However, the touch of a burning coal from the altar cleansed him of his sins and freed him from all guilt. Once purified, Isaiah was able to hear the cry of the Lord’s heart: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Without hesitation, Isaiah called out, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
God longs to commission each of us, just as He commissioned Peter and Isaiah. As we allow God to overwhelm us with His love, we too will hear the call to discipleship. We will know that we are unworthy of such an honor, but we will also know that, through repentance, we can be empowered by the Holy Spirit to intercede, to forgive, and to proclaim the Gospel.
As our relationship with Jesus deepens, so too will our love for Him and, like Peter and Isaiah, we will want to forsake everything for God. Let us not be afraid to humble ourselves before the Lord and receive the commission He has for us. There is no greater honor than to be a servant of the Lord, equipped to “catch” souls for His Kingdom.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, cleanse our sin and empower us with Your presence. Here we are, Lord! Send us! Empower us to participate in advancing Your Kingdom! Teach us to speak Your words and minister Your love to everyone we meet. Amen.
Jakarta, 5 February 2016
A Christian Pilgrim