Friday, September 5, 2008
Teaching and Fishing
I am sorry that events yesterday kept me from posting this, but I am doing it now.
Yesterday's Gospel had Jesus teaching from Peter's boat. The crowds were pressing him so he just got into the boat and asked Peter to move away from the shore. Jesus sat down in the boat and taught.
Years ago when visiting the Holy Land, the guide explained that Jesus taught on the shore because the wind from the water would carry his voice to the crowd seated on the hillside. I had not given much thought to the problem of addressing a huge crowd of over five thousand men, not counting women and children, without a microphone. For the Sermon on the Mount the guide said that Jesus had to be standing on the shore. Here, Jesus was so pressed by the crowd at the shore that he resorted to teaching from the boat of Peter.
When finished, Jesus tells Peter to "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon tells him that they have toiled all night and caught nothing but "at your command I will lower the nets." When they did, there were so many fish that the nets were tearing and they had to signal their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats. Then Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus saying, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."
Jesus said to him, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men."
When they brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him."
The homily yesterday was on vocations and the seemingly lack of success we are having in fishing for men and women to follow Jesus. I am convinced that Jesus is still calling others to leave all and follow him, but we need some silence to hear the call and to discern our vocation. The monastery of the Augustine Fathers at the University is making room for young men to come and discern what God is calling them to do with their lives.