Master and Teacher thrice holy
Jesus is our Teacher and Master, which also means we must learn to do everything that he commands and teaches by words and works, and to proclaim his Gospel.
Setting aside his experience and knowledge as a fisherman, Simon believes in the words of the carpenter from Nazareth turned teacher and master. He says to Jesus:
Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.
And Simon is not disappointed. Awed because of the huge catch of fish, so that the nets are breaking, he kneels before the Master and says:
Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.
Jesus immediately replies:
Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.
They are suited for discipleship, yes, those who go against their better judgment to obey the Master. Only those who, confessing their helplessness, recognize Someone greater than themselves can be Jesus’ followers.
The Master does not make disciples of those who are turned in on themselves, but rather of those who are open to the “awesome and fascinating mystery.” These are people who sense the presence of this mystery in astonishing occurrences as well as in small and ordinary blessings, on account of which poor and simple folks give thanks and hold celebrations.
Indeed, the Lord looks with favor on the lowly who tremble at his efficacious words, on those who, seeing themselves naked, without anything and guilty before the most holy God, cannot but try to hide from him. Reassured, however, by the Lord’s encouraging words, they do not run away.
And ultimately, we prove ourselves Christians by making sure that our mistrust of our own strength become the foundation of the trust we should have in God, to cite St. Vincent de Paul (SV.FR V:488). Echoing the Pauline passage, “I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me,” the saint assures us:
With it [trust in God] we will do much, or rather, God himself will do what he expects of us.
We shall be genuine disciples, if, admitting that we are unclean and slow to understand, we let the Teacher and Master wash us and open our minds and hearts, so that we may grasp the true meaning of the Eucharist, the washing of the feet, prayer, fasting, almsgiving. Taught by the Master and proclaiming the Gospel, we will break all expectations.
Lord Jesus, grant that we sinners be fishers of men.
February 7, 2016
5th Sunday in O.T (C)
Is 6, 1-2a. 3-8; 1 Cor 15, 1-11; Lk 5, 1-11