Father Paul explains another important multi-layered Gospel this week from Luke that encourages us all to ask Jesus what we can do for him…
This Gospel from Luke on the 5th Sunday of Ordinary time is pretty well known – how Jesus performs a miracle that allows Simon to catch an abundance of fish in a seemingly empty stretch of water. However, Father Paul explains that there’s far more to this story…
Father Paul observes some extra layers in the Gospel that we can all relate to.
1) The first point that Father makes is that Jesus has arrived early in the morning when the fishermen were cleaning up after fishing all night. We learn that Simon, James & John had been fishing all night without a catch. Night is a peak fishing time and not the morning when this miracle happens.
2) Secondly, Father asks us to picture the scene where the crowds are driving Jesus back towards the water so he asks Simon if he can preach from his boat. For Simon to allow this there must’ve been something about Jesus and he must have really taken in what Jesus had to preach or he wouldn’t have entertained the next part of the story.
3) Thirdly, Father Paul highlights that Jesus, a carpenter by trade is telling expert fisherman how to do their job. Yet, after a minor challenge by Simon, he allows Jesus to command him and and his crew to venture out with their nets where they instantly fill them with fish to the point of sinking the boats!
4) The fourth point is after the miracle where the fisherman return with their huge catch at a non peak fishing time. In shock, Simon says “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.
This is a powerful example of Jesus’ compassion for sinners and a strong “call to arms” for us all to embrace God’s work and become fishers of people too!
The conclusion is that it’s not being sinners that stops us doing God’s work, but how we separate ourselves from Him by believing we are not worthy.
The full Gospel is below with room for comments at the end if you have your own insights or observations…?
How can you be part of God’s fishing expedition this year ?
A fisher of men – full bible reading
Luke 5:1-11 taken from the Jerusalem bible.
Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point. When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners.
But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.