View all Gospel Reflections |
Thursday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
Opening Prayer: Lord, I ask you during this time of prayer to help me to better hear you when you call, and to respond with humility and docility. I know that you are the source of the abundant blessings of my life. Give me the grace to be grateful for your presence, and help me to leave behind anything that separates me from you.
- Posturing: At the beginning of this famous passage, Jesus was standing. Crowds were filing into position, wanting to find a spot where they could hear the words of the teacher. Jesus saw an opportunity to get out on the water, which would allow him a little space to breathe, and enable his voice to carry without shouting. He even sat down, signaling to the crowd that he was comfortable with this arrangement, and perhaps inviting the people, voicelessly, to do the same. One need not be a behavioral scientist to infer much from observing our body language. What kind of message do we send when we are listening to a spouse, children, parishioners, or coworkers? Are we attentive to each person, or do we seem preoccupied? Does our body language at Mass reflect our enthusiasm for giving God his due praise and worship? What does Our Lord see when we approach him for communion? A soul hungry for the bread which comes down from Heaven?
- Know Thyself: A most important posture was demonstrated in today’s Gospel by Simon Peter, who knelt in front of his Lord and Savior. Each of the actions Peter took that night is instructive to us, but he was most definitely not the protagonist. Peter was responding to Christ’s actions in his life. Christ encouraged him to go into the deep, caused a miraculous catch of fish, invited him to swallow his fears, and extended an important life-changing invitation to follow him. Christ always makes the first move in our lives and our response should be one of receptivity, assuming what some call a “Marian posture.” Indeed, as members of the Church which is the bride of Christ, it is always helpful for us to contemplate (and try to replicate) the receptivity shown by the Blessed Mother when she gave her simple fiat to the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:37-38).
- The Three “R”s: Simon Peter, in his actions in those few moments with Jesus–embracing his command, falling to his knees, acknowledging his sinfulness, and choosing to follow–demonstrated a great awakening in spiritual maturity. When we attended grade school, each of us attempted to master “reading, writing, and ’rithmetic”; once we did, these skills allowed us to grow in understanding of our material world. Peter’s receptivity, repentance, and reverence reflect three key dispositions that allowed him to grow in understanding of the spiritual realm. These three dispositions will serve us well also. Our own efforts, though, will never be enough. Even Peter, under the duress of Jesus being captured, failed in his pledge to “never deny” his Lord. Thankfully, our resurrected Lord would repeat the miracle of the great catch of fish (see John 21:1-19), and give Peter the opportunity to repent and recommit to following him. Not only does Christ always make the first move, he always delights in receiving us back after we fall.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I thank you today for reminding me that you called simple and sinful men to follow you as your first disciples. You do not wish for me to be weighed down by my own failings; instead, you desire me to follow you, and to receive the abundant graces that you wish to shower upon me, and anyone else who chooses to follow you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will read John 21:1-19 in light of today’s Gospel, and reflect on how you have worked in my life.
For Further Reflection: For more on the idea of the Blessed Mother’s receptivity, you may wish to reflect on this passage from the 2004 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World:
“It is from Mary that the Church always learns the intimacy of Christ. Mary, who carried the small child of Bethlehem in her arms, teaches us to recognize the infinite humility of God. She who received the broken body of Jesus from the Cross shows the Church how to receive all those in this world whose lives have been wounded by violence and sin. From Mary, the Church learns the meaning of the power of love, as revealed by God in the life of his beloved Son: ‘He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their heart… he has lifted up the lowly’ (Luke 1:51-52). From Mary, the disciples of Christ continually receive the sense and the delight of praise for the work of God’s hands: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me’ (Luke 1:49). They learn that they are in the world to preserve the memory of those ‘great things,’ and to keep vigil in expectation of the day of the Lord.”
Andrew Rawicki and his wife, JoAnna, live in Irving, Texas, near eight of their ten grandchildren. A convert from Judaism, Andrew entered the Church in 1991, and has been a member of the Regnum Christi spiritual family since 2001. He has served as the Regnum Christi Local Director for Dallas since July 2020.
What did you think?
Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.