This weekend we hear the first call story in Luke’s Gospel.
has much to teach us about how to be a better disciple of Christ.
Peter provides the perfect example of how we are to
cooperate with God, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit in our lives. It
starts with being open to this encounter.
The prophet Isaiah starts us off with a focus on who are
called to be ministers of God’s word.
God does not seek the perfect. He seeks us with all our
Remember, Jesus doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies
The prophet Isaiah describes his own prophetic call, “I am
a man of unclean lips.” In other words, I am not qualified to speak for God.
But the Lord purifies his lips, “your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”
the Lord asks, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah answers, “Here I am (Lord)… send
Isaiah’s words, of course, come from a dream.
Isaiah comes face-to-face with God and says “Yes” to doing God’s will in the
only we would always say “Yes” when we are called by God. Imagine the world
we’d live in?
reading is the perfect set up to Peter’s encounter with Christ.
this fisherman cleaning his nets after a fruitless night of fishing, exhausted,
resigned to the fact he would take nothing home to his family or to the market
to sell to provide for his family.
Along comes Jesus who had been doing miraculous things throughout Capernaum just a few miles away from the lake. His healings attracted a large crowd.
knew if he could be on a boat close to shore it would be easier for the crowds
to hear his voice (because sound travels better across water).
is minding his own business, when Jesus walks up and asks to use his boat to
address the crowds.
is done speaking to the crowd, probably as a way of saying “thank you” and to
call Peter into his ministry, Jesus asks the fisherman to put out to deep
waters for a catch.
it’s the middle of the day. Any fisherman knows that lake fish are not usually
as active in the heat of midday. Usually only in the early morning and at
Peter heard Jesus’ preaching before the crowds. He knows there is something special about this man Jesus. But his reaction is all too human to Jesus’ request.
You want me to do what?
the miracle happens, and Peter is gob smacked.
Jesus hops into our boat get ready for a wild ride.
uses the experience to call the future leader of his Church.
reluctant, self-admitted sinful man prostates himself before Jesus and says, “Depart from me,
Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
can we learn from Peter’s encounter with Christ?
1. Be prayerfully aware of the times Jesus is
near – especially in our encounters on the peripheries
many times have I encountered Jesus in the poor and marginalized? The
encounters are too many to count. And I am always astonished at how Jesus is
made manifest in serving others on the peripheries.
of us is perfect. None of us is worthy. Yet, Jesus calls us all the same. Remember
honest about our weaknesses and know Jesus wants to work through our weaknesses
to further his ministry
may have called Peter to lead the Church because Peter was so conscious of his
own weaknesses. Are we conscious of our own weaknesses?
open to leave old ways behind and allow something new to change the entire direction
of our lives
knew the only way to get Peter to say “Yes” to following him was to use fishing
as a metaphor for ministry. Fishing is all Peter knew. What do we know best?
How is Jesus using what we know to call us to do more to extend his ministry to
those around us?
5. Be prophetic
in proclaiming Jesus to the world and to our friends and family
is a hard one for most Catholics. We bristle at the idea of proselytizing. But
Jesus wants us to proclaim him more by our actions than just our words. The
early Christians understood this. Do we today?
When we read of Peter’s encounter with Jesus, we need to be honest about the feelings that may be holding us back from doing more for Jesus in our lives: unworthiness, fear, fear of change, fear of intimacy with Jesus.
book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, author and Jesuit Fr. James Martin reminds
us, “Jesus does not come to drive people away, but to call us to join him, if
we are willing to follow, no matter who we are – single, married, or vowed; rich
or poor, old or young; liberal or conservative; lay, clergy or religious; gay
Martin goes on to say, “This is an important message to those who, for whatever
reason, feel as if their churches are saying to them, ‘Go away’… Christ’s message
is not only a call to conversion, but one of inclusion, a message that welcomes
us into the community and restores us to it. Even if you are made to feel
unworthy, and are tempted to say (to the Lord), ‘Go away!’ Christ says, as he
did to Peter, ‘Join me in my great mission.’”
Jesus wants us (like Peter) to focus on our future with him with hope and trust, not backwards on our past with fear.
Jesus speaking through our lives today?
hear his call?
doing all we can to support his mission of love?