Jesus was standing one day by the lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.
The gospel reading today presents us with another aspect of the mystery of the Incarnation.
Process: part 1
In the first four chapters of his Gospel Luke has already presented more than once God’s incarnation: the annunciation, Jesus’s birth, etc. In today’s gospel (5:2-3) the Evangelist presents yet another aspect: “Jesus saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon ….” Jesus entered the ordinary environment of these fishermen!
When Jesus incarnates into the normal setting of Simon and his companions, they realise that they are helpless. It is a knowing and an accepting of their human reality. Yet, because of the miracles Jesus has already performed, and the teaching he has already delivered, the fishermen believed Jesus’s suggestion, obey his command and brought in a great catch.
Process: part 2
The first part of the journey leads to the second part.
When the fishermen meet Jesus more intimately, and experience him more deeply, they realise something more about themselves, and have to admit. This time, they are sinners! the fishermen come to know and admit something more about themselves; this time that they are sinners. When they become aware of, and accept their own spiritual journey, they can come to know and accept themselves holistically, humanly and spiritually.
Process: part 3
The first two parts of the process are a prerequisite for the third part: God’s call and our answer.
Looking at the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, we can ask ourselves how the Servant of God responded to God’s call in his life.
In the year that King Uzziah died …
… I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.
And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips …”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”