Homily for Sept. 1st, 2016: Luke 5:1-11.
After a discouraging night of toil on the lake, the net coming back empty time after time, until Peter and his companions were bone weary, Jesus tells Peter to try again in broad daylight. Peter knew that would be an exercise in futility: “Master, we have worked all night, and taken nothing.” But then, perhaps just to humor the Lord, Peter adds: ABut at your command I will lower the nets.@ Peter=s willingness to do the unthinkable enables him to experience the impossible. No sooner have they started to pull in the net, than they feel it heavy with fish.
Throwing himself at the feet of Jesus, with the fish flopping all around him in the boat, Peter can only blurt out: ADepart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.@ To which Jesus responds with words of reassurance: ADo not be afraid: from now on you will be catching men.@ In that moment, Peter=s life is changed. AThey brought their boats to shore,@ Luke tells us, Athey left everything and followed [Jesus].@ Peter never forgot it.
APut out into the deep water,@ the Lord told Peter. He is saying the same to each one of us right now. Do not abandon the quest, though it seems fruitless. Leave the shallow waters near shore. Forsake what is familiar and secure for the challenge of the unknown deep. Dare, like Peter, to do the unthinkable. Then, like him, you too will experience the impossible.
As we travel life=s way, with all its twistings and turnings, its many small achievements and frequent defeats, we who in baptism have become sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ should be sharpening our spiritual vision. For it is only with the eyes of faith that we can perceive the unseen, spiritual world all round us: beneath, behind, above this world of sense and time. Faith assures us that God is watching over us always, in good times and in bad. The same Lord who challenged Peter, devastated by failure at the one thing he thought he knew something about, to APut out into deep water.@
Glimpsing this mighty God, our loving heavenly Father, with the eyes of faith, we too join B as in a moment we shall B in the angels= song: AHoly, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!@