1 Corinthians 3:18-23
God’s Ways Are Not Always Our Ways
As we move towards the Fall season, memories of summertime fishing and other outdoor activities come to mind. Even if we are not fishermen, we can sympathize with Peter in today’s Gospel. Peter was a professional fisherman; knowing the waters of the late and the suitable time for fishing as well as understanding the best techniques were essential to his livelihood. Having done things right and tried all night long, he and his companions had caught nothing.
Along comes Jesus, the carpenter, who tells Peter to put out into deeper water – not the best spot in the lake — and after the sun has risen – not the proper time. Peter protested, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing…" A struggle took place within him and he was on the verge of telling Jesus that his request was nonsense. After a moment’s pause, Peter responded that he would lower the nets. We know the result: a miraculous catch of fish – so great that they needed help in gathering their overloaded nets! Such was the beginning of Peter’s faith in Jesus, and his call to ministry as a disciple.
The lesson for us 21st Century disciples: God’s ways are not always our ways. Saint Paul in today’s first reading from First Corinthians highlights the contrast of God’s wisdom and human wisdom; simply put, God’s in charge! Like St. Peter, we’re invited to humbly follow Jesus – not in an inferior / doormat manner – but as down-to-earth disciples challenged by Jesus to "put our nets" into deep water, to risk our own security and comfort for the sake of the Gospel values of compassion and justice – to join Jesus in "catching" souls.
Jesus wants to join us in our life’s journey, pointing out the Godly realities of day to day events, inviting us to move beyond our fears and say "yes" by our very lives…a "yes" that leads to a great catch: God’s love! Here’s to God’s blessing of successful and happy fishing!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.