Scripture:Jesus got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way 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 the deep water and let dowm your nets for a catch.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. All who were with Simon were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” (Luke 5:3-4, 6, 9-10)
Reflection: The author of Luke’s gospel takes the two separate stories of Jesus calling Simon and Andrew and James and John and combines them with an account of a miraculous catch of fish, which appears as a post-resurrection story in the epilogue to John’s gospel. Luke’s streamlined version of the account not only makes the sons of Zebedee fishing partners with Simon (omitting the mention of Andrew), but also changes the focus of the stories. Mark’s gospel is focused on the immediacy of the response. Matthew’s gospel is focused on the companionship that supports the evangelization effort. Luke’s gospel prefers the amazement of all when Simon Peter fills two boats with fish and declares his sinfulness before Jesus, who, after removing his fear, tells him that he will be catching people. In other words, the focus is on the catch.
A person on mission has but one focus – the catch. However, the story is not about the catch made by Simon Peter; he is but the instrument for the catch. The story is about being a vehicle for the catch, letting God work through one in order to catch people. Then, a person realizes that he or she is not worthy of such use, of such a call. Simon recognizes his sinful state, and Jesus tells him that God can work miracles through him despite his unworthiness.
What was true for Peter, James, and John is also true for people today. The call to mission includes amazement at what God does through sinful or unworthy apostles. Not cutting off another driver in traffic may be the opportunity for God to work through a person. Visiting a friend in the hospital and praying with him or her may be the way God catches that one. Teachers are always catching students – hopefully studying – and who can say that God is not fishing for young lives through those who educate them? If one feels amazed, he or she can be assured that people have been caught by God. All one can do is keep following Jesus.
Journal/Meditation: How have you been an instrument for God to catch people?
Prayer: Lord, I am a sinful person, unworthy of the call you have entrusted to me. As I kneel in prayer before you, I trust that you will guide my boat and my net to those you have chosen to catch. Grant this through your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.