September 4, 2008
Thursday of Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
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 they 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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe your desire for me is to spend this time in prayer with you; help me appreciate these moments. I trust the fruitfulness of my life united to yours; strengthen my hope. I love you as my only treasure; renew me in your love.
Petition: Jesus, bring my heart to be committed to your cause.
Imagine the deep blue of Lake Galilee contrasted by the thick green grass covering the rolling hills that lead down to the shore. The bright, blue sky and cool sea breeze made for the perfect setting for our Lord to call his first pope. You can see the many people jockeying for position to get a glimpse of the prophet. But strangely enough Jesus does not seem to be interested in the crowd; rather, his attention is focused on a few, tired men, hunkered down and cleaning their empty fishing nets. Though these men were not interested in Christ, he was very interested in them: They were the ones chosen by the Father to complete a mission that would change the world. Are you focused on your empty, torn nets, on the humdrum of daily life? Christ looks at you during this time of prayer as he did the first apostles. He wants to get into the boat of your life. He wants to fill you with courage so you might overcome the fears entailed in giving your life to him. If you let him, he will make you a fisher of souls.
Sometimes people take big risks in order to be close to someone they really like. Surely you have heard stories of high school girls signing up for classes such as woodworking, welding or auto mechanics just to be around a particular young man they like. As Peter was disinterestedly washing his nets, Christ climbed into his boat, made himself very comfortable, and asked to be taken out onto the lake. What options did Peter have? What love Christ had for Peter! Out of all the people by the lake that morning, Christ had chosen Peter and needed to be close to him in order to allow him to experience the call. Christ wants to do the same with you, he wants to sign himself up to be in the same class you are in – because he chooses you to be close to him and complete your mission.
John Paul II is considered the “Pilgrim Pope” because of the 104 foreign trips, 116 countries visited, and over 742,000 miles traveled. Every town John Paul II visited was electrified by his presence. No one was quite sure what was going to happen next. He left the crowds on the edge of their seats. It was never just an ordinary day when John Paul the Great was in town. This is the same with Christ. What would have been a dead-quiet morning on the lakeshore turned into a hostile crowd and fishing frenzy with Our Lord present. He shakes things up when he works to build his Kingdom. Peter allowed himself to be shaken by Christ’s grace, and from one moment to the next he went from fisher of tilapia (a common fish in Lake Galilee) to fisher of men. Each prayer is an encounter with this same Christ. Conversing with him now is the best way to shake things up and build His Kingdom. Lord, I accept your challenge today.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling me to the Catholic faith. You look at my life with hope. I give you my broken nets, my littleness, and ask you to perform the same miraculous transformation in my life as you did on the lakeshore 2000 years ago.
Resolution: I will ask a young person if they have ever considered giving their life totally to Christ as a priest or a consecrated man or woman.
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