PUT OUT INTO DEEP WATERS

(Is 6:1-8; Ps 137:1-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11; Lk 5:1-11)

The readings of today are not only calling us to be apostles and fishers of men but to put out into the deep. The call to put out into the deep comes from Jesus to Simon in the gospel of today.

The gospel recounts a scene of Jesus around the shores of the lake of Gennesarret. There was a large crowd pressing round him and in order to have enough space to talk freely, he decided to ask Simon to pull his boat into the waters so that he could talk to the people from there. Simon immediately obeyed Jesus and when Jesus had taught the people, he turned to Simon and asked him to put out into deep water and pay his net for a catch. Now, it might be funny that Jesus, a carpenter, is giving instructions to an expert fisherman. Not just that, but Simon and the others have toiled all night and could catch nothing and yet Jesus asks him to put out into deep waters. Is this going to work?

Dear friends in Christ, what is happening here is the assurance of Simon's faith which Jesus demanded before every miracle. Jesus wanted to test Simon whether, he as an expert fisherman can trust in a carpenter on issues concerning fishing. Simon who at that time had heard stories about Jesus trusted and put out into the deep and they netted so many fish that their net and boat could not contain. They had to ask for help. What a great catch they had.

I am sure with the great catch, Simon and the others would have been contemplating the amount the money they were going to make from the sale of the fish. As they got to the shore, they story turned around. Jesus told Simon not to be afraid because he is going to make him fisher of men. The gospel reading concludes that Simon left everything and followed Jesus.

It is the same conversion story Jesus is inviting us to. That no matter where we may be in our Christian journey, we can still put out into the deep waters to net fish for God. This call doesn't depend on our background nor on our intelligence. It is depended on trust in God. We trust in Jesus knowing that he is going to lead us in the right path and that he can never fail us. We need to put down all barriers that can stand in our way to trusting in Jesus. It might be our knowledge, power, finance, statutes, pride, etc. We need to keep all these and follow Jesus. We must note also that our following of Christ is a complete self denial of every material thing so that we might be filled with what Jesus has in stock for us. Simon would have had every reason to delay following Jesus because of the proceeds that would have come from the sale of fish. But he abandoned everything and followed Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, like the prophet Isaiah in the first reading, we must be ready to day "Here I am, send me". God indeed wants to send us out to do his biding. But we are sometimes too busy to respond to his call. We must ask for the graces today to deny anything that may stand our way to putting out into the deep and embracing the mission Jesus is giving us. Let this begin by the transformation of our own lives.

The mission might be to become a priest, a religious, a faithful parent or single. In whatever vocation he wants us to embrace, the call is the same: to put out into the deep and net fish for him. Are we ready to follow this call like Simon?

  - Fr. Rinda