do not be afraid
Gospel Reflection the Fifth Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – February 7th 2016
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 for a catch.’ 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.
Luke 5: 1-11
Sort of doom and gloom readings at first. In many of our institutions and personal life, there can be the sense of failure and of doom. Peter had a poor night’s fishing – never such a bad catch. Money was lost, salaries had to be paid to James’ and John’s workers, the laughter at him. Doom so bad that he cannot believe Jesus saying to go and fish again.
“SELF KNOWS THAT SELF IS NOT ENOUGH”
This story is about working together. From the first we are loved and called together. We don’t make it on your own. We follow together. We cannot be Christians on our own. We cannot go it alone. As in Brendan Kennelly’s poem: Self knows that self is not enough.
This is a call and a challenge today, and a joy. Living in a world very impersonal at timer, we need zones and places of community. Much of our communication now can be lonely – Facebook, texts and all are impersonal. We can get used to that.
Gospel challenges the loneliness of going it alone. And the feeling of doom. God is always near promising an abundance. We are never alone and never failures. But we can be failures on our own.
In illness we are totally dependent and in addiction we cannot make it on our own. We could not have got through without the concerned parents group. Marriage needs the support of other couples at its best like Marriage Encounter and Teams of our Lady. Any ministry the same. And all life, married and single, needs friendship. And we are caught together in the big net of God. He enjoys floundering around in the net with us.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger