Thursday, September 4, 2014

Duc in Altum

In today's Gospel (Luke 5:1-11) from the liturgy notice that Saint Luke mentions there are two boats; and Jesus got into the one belonging to Simon Peter.  And what did Jesus do when He got into Simon's boat?  He sat down and began to teach the crowds.  This perhaps is a preview of the Chair of Peter or the office of the papacy.  

Something else to consider is the lake in which the Chair (boat) is on.  The plain of Gennesaret, because of its beauty, has been called "the Paradise of Galilee"; and from the word "paradise" we get a sense of eternal beauty or heaven.  

Water is a symbol of life and from it the faithful are baptized and given a new life in Christ, a life that is eternal.  And so, from this Chair (boat) which rests on these waters of paradise, the faithful receive the words of everlasting life.  

When Jesus was finished speaking He instructed Simon by saying, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."  Simon responds by saying: "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing."  After this exchange you can almost visualize Jesus giving Simon a divine stare as if to say: "Do you really doubt Me?"  And then perhaps Simon would then lower his head in embarrassment while mumbling the words, "But at Your command I will lower the nets."  And, of course, after following Jesus' instructions, so many fish were caught that the nets were tearing.  

For certain, a life committed to the Lord is a life of abundance.  After all of this, Simon, in astonishment over the amount of fish that were caught, surely felt compelled to somehow explain to his Lord why he questioned His instructions.  What he did instead was fall at the knees of Jesus and declare his unworthiness by saying: "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."  And what does Simon get for his lack of faith and lack of trust in Jesus? -- Promoted to a fisher of men -- certainly not logical by human standards.  Scripture does remind us, however, that God does not see as man sees because the Lord looks into the heart (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7).  Perhaps what Jesus saw in Simon was a humble heart.  Simon, with divine assistance, caught an abundant and overflowing amount of fish; now, answering Jesus' call to be a fisher of men, he would be destined to find in his net innumerable souls.