February 10, 2019 (readings)
- Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for revealing your tender, merciful, Sacred Heart to us. Your Heart gives me the confidence to turn back to you as many times as I fall. I know that I hurt you the most when I neglect to trust in your infinite love for me. And so now in this meditation, good and kind Jesus, I intend to rest in your love.
Petition: Lord, give me faith so I can be a docile instrument in your great work of saving souls.
1. Jesus Sees Our Hearts: In today’s Gospel, we see Our Lord presented as a wonderful teacher of souls. First, Christ is a teacher to the multitude whose hearts were opened to his teaching by his marvelous miracles. He is also more subtly presented as a teacher to Saint Peter, whom he would later choose to lead his Church. His first lesson to Peter, besides the one Peter hears Jesus preach from his boat, is the very personal message of his worth in Christ’s eyes. Jesus provides a miracle just for Peter—not to heal him of some infirmity, but to demonstrate Christ’s overflowing love for him. He speaks loudly through his action of the miraculous catch. Whether through want or abundance, health or infirmity, am I able to discern Our Lord’s lessons for me in my life? Am I open to his lessons of love?
2. From the Depths of Our Faith: Our Lord implemented a deeper lesson plan with Peter to prepare him for his great mission of being the first pope. Peter would need to move to a more supernatural level if Christ were to entrust him with the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Testing his generosity, Christ commandeered Peter’s boat to teach the crowds gathered at the shore. Then Jesus led Peter to make an act of faith: he asked him to set out into the deep and drop his nets at a time when it didn’t appear opportune to fish. If Peter were to answer the supernatural call to be a fisher of men, he would have to depend on Our Lord’s working of miracles. Only by the grace of Christ is God able to redeem what humanly seems unsalvageable.
3. A Lesson of Mercy: Mercy is God’s divine method of teaching: by showing mercy to sinners, Christ teaches us important lessons. Peter’s intentions are discovered and revealed in his confession at the shore. Peter confesses his lack of faith despite his “obedience” to Our Lord’s command to cast out into the deep. Our Lord taught Peter a great lesson when he blessed Peter’s feeble and meager faith with a contrastingly abundant catch of fish. Does my faith in God show in my actions? Am I willing to respond generously to the work of the New Evangelization?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me with the grace of your mercy to accept what seems unfeasible in human terms. Help me to accept your call for me to work in establishing a civilization of love in today’s world. Help me Lord, to be always faithful to your friendship, sincere in my faith, and diligent in service to you and my neighbors in need.
Resolution: Today I will pray and make a sacrifice to Our Lord so that he sends generous and holy vocations to the Church, especially where she needs them the most.
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