Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way 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 the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken;and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Jesus is always moving into people’s space – coming up to them and speaking directly, asking what they want. In this case, he gets into Simon’s boat and tells him what to do to catch fish. What must have gone through Simon’s mind? Who is this guy telling me, a master fisherman, how to catch fish – and in my own boat! This is just one example of Jesus’ pattern of getting into people’s space and changing their lives.
And the other part of the pattern is familiar: we become afraid and want to move away. Simon does this because he feels unworthy…”I am a sinful man.” Perhaps Simon is afraid of Jesus’ care and generosity because he knows that, once Jesus finds out how sinful he is, Jesus will reject him. And Simon will be hurt by this, so it is easier to just push away from God’s presence.
What are some ways that I reject God before God can really get to know me for who I really am?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is the peripatetic and gracious minister of the Jesuit community at Loyola University Chicago.
You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid. I go before you always.
Come follow me, and I will give you rest.
—”Be Not Afraid,” © 1975, Robert J. Dufford, S.J. and New Dawn MusicPlease share the Good Word with your friends!