“Gradual” is the Good News.

“Gradual” is the Good News. September 2, 2022

On the sea of Galilee

The Good News for the Day, September 1, 2022
Thursday of the Twenty-second Week of Ordinary Time (434)

The Gospel

While crowds of people were pressing in on Jesus to listen to the message of God, Jesus was standing on the shore of the Lake called Gennesaret. He noticed a couple of boats drawn up there on the beach. Their workers had left them and were cleaning their nets.

Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, Jesus asked him to put out from the shore a little way. Then he sat down and was teaching people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he spoke to Simon, “Put out into deeper water and lower your nets to catch something.” Simon answered, “Sir, we have been working hard all night and haven’t caught a thing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets.”

Once they did this, they started catching a huge number of fish—their nets even started tearing. They signaled to their partners at the other boat to come help them. They came over and together filled both boats until the boats were almost in danger of sinking.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell, kneeling in front of Jesus, “Depart from me, Sir! I am a flawed man.” (Astonishment at the catch they had made affected him and all those with him—including James and John, sons of Zebedee.) Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will be catching human beings.” After they brought their boats to shore, they left everything and started following Jesus. (Luke 5)

Reflections of the word of Jesus

“They left everything.” Factually, we know that is just not true as we usually understand it. Simon is a boat and homeowner. He has men working for him. The text implies he manages the fishing. John’s Gospel records Simon and these same men back on their boat fishing again after Jesus’s resurrection. Maybe he never left his job at all!

Maybe what he left was a “dead” attitude about the life he was living. Maybe that is what is meant by, “(he) left everything and followed Jesus.”. Perhaps his life was like that of so many – a continuation of immature adolescence. He married. Got a job. Went to the synagogue. Ate, slept, and walked blithely through life unreflectively.

Jesus is a “different kettle of fish.” This difference affects Simon. Luke records a miracle: when Jesus identifies a school of fish, but maybe it was His presence that counted more.

Perhaps we need to re-evaluate this middle-income boat owner, Simon. Did Simon see in Jesus someone who could ensure a future income? Someone able to find the fish he and his fellow workers could not! Only later would the significance become clear.

Reflective prayer and repentance bring us to the realization that Simon was a very ordinary person. Impulsive, married, a boat owner, a working manager, a man – we see eventually – not too bright nor quick to understand. Eventually, though, (in Acts) we see he has become a leader (a fisherman of men), a humble, enthusiastic believer!

His transformation we see is gradual – perhaps that is the real point. His frequent appearances throughout the Gospels reveal a slow resurrection from a dead life. We need to look at the movie not this one snapshot. Our own following of Jesus is following that pattern of a gradual transformation, too. “Gradual” is the Good News!

The importance here

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