Thursday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time—Year I

Peter has worked hard all night and has nothing to show for it. He’s frustrated and tired. Then Jesus comes along. The two men had met before. Peter met Jesus through his brother. Apparently, Peter had been impressed by this man whom Andrew insisted was the messiah; for when Jesus asks Peter to take the boat from the shore, to give some space for speaking to the crowds, Peter obliges.

How long do you think Jesus spoke out there, sitting in the boat? It probably wasn’t a short while. And when Jesus finishes talking, he turns again to Peter and wants him to go out further, to cast his nets into the deeper waters. Peter thinks it’s pointless, and he says so, but He continues showing a willingness to oblige Jesus.

Peter casts the nets and brings in his biggest catch ever. And here, seeing himself richly blessed, by a great and holy man, Peter hits the limit of his capacity to serve. It’s not that Peter’s too tired or hungry, too busy or lazy. It’s his shame for his sins. Peter’s shame would prevent him from serving Jesus any farther.

Peter turns to Jesus and says, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” It’s the opposite from what we should ask of Jesus when we acknowledge our sinfulness. Jesus tells him, “Do not be afraid. (I will do great things with you.)”

We are not worthy to receive Him, but we are called to His supper and to serve Him all the same. And even with recovering sinners like us, He can do great things.

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