28 January 2010
FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (February 7, 2010)
Is 6:1-2, 3-8/1Cor 15:1-11/Lk 5:1-11
Jesus Christ was standing by the lake of Gennesaret and preaching the word of God to the crowd who kept on pressing around Him to listen to Him when He saw Simon who just arrived from fishing during the whole night long and at that time was washing the nets without any fish caught. He requested him for a boat and He used Simon’s boat to preach. After the preaching, Jesus asked Simon and his companions to fish at the broad daylight, saying: “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Lk 5:4). To this Simon responded: “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets” (Lk 5:5). Simon and his companions went on fishing in the deep waters and they netted a lot of fishes that the two boats were nearly sinking because they were full of fishes.
The boat of Simon is usually considered as the figure of the Church. Simon Peter was the one seen leading the Apostles and the one to whom the Lord had entrusted the Church. The Pope of the Catholic Church is considered to be the successor of Peter and thus the Church is considered as the boat which Peter directs. Without Christ, the Church will never yield any fruit even though she may labor a lot for a long time. It was only when Christ got into the boat of Peter and when Christ commanded Peter to put out into the deep waters that they were able to catch with the boat a lot of fishes. It is then only with Christ always present in the Church and in doing the mission entrusted to the whole Church of proclaiming the Gospel of Love that the Church will be able to yield her desired results.
As Christians, there are times when we feel what Simon Peter felt – the hopelessness and when we also experience what Peter experienced – the whole night labor without produce. There are times when our works do not give us the needed and the desired income or at least satisfaction or fulfillment, when we become hopeless because of the problems that constantly trouble us and when it seems that there is no way out of our miserable situation. When we feel such thing, let us remember that Christ gave hope to Peter and when Peter put his whole trust in Him and obeyed His word, Peter was able to catch more than the fishes that he could imagine to be netted. Christ then reminds us through the gospel for this Sunday that there is hope with Him! There is hope with the boat of Peter, the Catholic Church.
We will never yield any produce if Christ is not present in our lives and in our works. Without Christ, our problems will engulf us and we will always feel hopeless. Christ clearly says: “Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). Let us then unite ourselves with Christ always and this we can do by entrusting ourselves and all the things that we do to Him. This means having surrendering our lives to Christ and accepting Him as our Lord. But this demands conversion which means turning away from sins and living the life being offered by Christ. Such conversion was seen in Peter when he fell at the knees of Jesus, recognizing Jesus’ Lordship and said: “I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8). Such genuine acceptance of his sinfulness was the beginning of his conversion and Christ saw his honesty and called him to become His apostle by saying: “Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching” (Lk 5:10). With such calling of Christ, Simon Peter responded positively and, together with his companions, left everything and followed Christ.
Simon and his companions just caught a huge number of fishes, yet they simply left those fishes and the boats and followed Christ. When we feel that Christ is calling us, there should be no other response except leaving everything behind and following Him. It is Christ who is the fullness of our lives because we are made for Him. Let us then not be afraid to face the trials of life because God will never abandon us only and only if we put our whole trust and life in Christ and follow Him, His teachings, and the teachings of His Catholic Church. One with Christ, we can never be afraid to let down our nets, to renew our life and to move on because we know that this time we will not be laboring in vain but rather will produce more than what we expect because Christ is directing us and our lives.