06 September. Thursday, Week 22

1st Reading: 1 Corinthians (3:18-23)

God knows the thoughts of everyone

Let nobody deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks himself wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise, because the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 24)

R.: The Lord’s is the earth and all that is in it

The Lord’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. (R./)
Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain. (R./)
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
a reward from God his saviour.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob. (R./)

Gospel: Luke (5:1-11)

The miraculous haul of fish and the call of the fishermen

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 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.


Appreciating our good fortune

Counting our blessings is well based in the Scriptures; but counting ourselves better than others surely is not. Financial or social success can even turn out to be bad for a person, if it causes them to become arrogant, boastful and to regard others as “losers”. In this sense, celebrity can be more harmful to ones personality then apparent failure. Paul warns against  the cult of celebrity: Let there be no boasting and no name dropping like, “I am of Paul or of Apollos or of Cephas.” We should value our belonging to a united church, for “all these things are yours,” but we also remember: “you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.”
To really appreciate that we have been blessed can unleash a generosity in us. Think of the response of Peter and his friends to their great catch  of fish, how they were willing to stake all their future on Jesus’ guiding words. There’s a strong sense of “noblesse oblige” about this story. They were drawn to follow Jesus because he appealed to the best that was within them.

From failure to success

Most adults have tasted the experience of failure in one shape or form. We may have failed to live up to some goal we had set; some initiative that we had invested in may have come to nothing; a relationship that was important to us may have slipped away from us. This could make us disheartened and unwilling to take any risks in the future. A particular experience of failure is described in today’s gospel. We can hear Peter’s rueful disappointment as he says, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing’, and his sense of failure when he says, ‘leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ Yet failure does not need to have the last word, because the Lord is stronger than our failures and can work through them.
The Lord transforms the disciples’ lack of success into a marvellous catch of fish, and calls the despondent Peter to share in his own work of drawing people into the nets of God’s kingdom. The Lord is constantly at work in seemingly unpromising situations, replacing loss and failure with a new sense of purpose. Yet, for this to happen, we must  not give in to discouragement. The Lord needs needs us to keeping putting out into deep water in response to his faithful word.

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