Go Deeper! Are You Serious Jesus?

As a child growing up around Lake Erie, there were many occasions to set out early in the morning on one of the many fishing boats. And as may be there were times when we sat out all morning with nothing to show for our efforts. Professionals we were not. And as we came to shore we were exhausted for our efforts. None of us would even think about going out again that day!

In our Gospel today, we find Jesus sitting in Simon Peter’s boat after the crowds have gone. Jesus knows that Peter is exhausted from his own efforts at fishing all night. He knows that he has caught nothing, but even still he turns to Peter and invites him to do something. “Go out into the deep water,” he says, “and there let down your nets.” It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? But is it really? What is Jesus really asking here?

Jesus  is asking Simon Peter to trust him. To trust him so much that Peter would be willing to leave the shallow places in his life and in his work and begin to explore the depths. To go to the limits of what he thinks is possible, not only for him but for those all around him. “Go out into the deep water,” says Jesus, “trust me and see what happens.” [Living Liturgy 2019]

Peter becomes a model for discipleship. It happens in the moment when Peter responds to Jesus’ call and says, “but, if you say so.” Then off he goes—perhaps reluctantly—out into the deep water and there he finds abundance like he has never imagined.

Jesus doesn’t call Peter to be anything other than who he is. He doesn’t call Peter to be a rabbi like him, or even to a career in carpentry. Jesus calls Peter to live in the depths of his own life, not to try to live out Jesus’ life. Peter remains at heart a fisherman who has a heart for Jesus and for the humanity that Jesus serves.

For most of us, Jesus does not come in dramatic ways.  Rather, he comes in the ordinary events of the day. Our ordinary daily living can be a radical response to Jesus. The Good News is that God calls us as precisely we are and works through our humanity.

Adapted Renew International Year C

Left Everything

fishermenHaving someone take command of us can bring opposite effects from us. In our Gospel today, Peter and the others are docked and cleaning up after a night of unsuccessful fishing. We might surmise that they were a bit testy. Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and asks him to move away from the shore a bit where he sits and teaches. Then Jesus commands him to put out into the deep. Peter must have had an inkling of who Jesus was for he responds in the affirmative.
If we pay attention to the details of the Gospel beyond the immediate call and response events, we might be caught by surprise. Too often we feel the burdens of discipleship is solely on our shoulders . The gospel depicts Jesus initiating the call. Our discipleship rests upon Jesus long before we begin to follow. The surprise of the Gospel is that we are never alone when we hear and follow God’s call; divine Presence always abides within us, enables us to hear the commands and call of God and to answer the call and remain faithful to it.
God meets people where they are. Sinfulness is not a stumbling block to following God’s call. We simply go deeper; beyond our sinfulness to hear God call, each of us to discipleship. In spited of our objections, God gently and persistently says to each of us, “You are still the one I want.”
We are invited to be overwhelmed by God’s graciousness and self-revelation and answer “Send me!” God’s is a gentle command. Our response must be strong.