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Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Put out into deep water..."

The Gospel(Luke 5:11) tells us that Jesus got into Simon's (Peter's) boat and 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." Now, they had worked hard all night and had caught nothing, but Simon is willing to do as Jesus says. When he does, the number of fish in the nets is so great that the nets were tearing and they had to signal to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They filled both boats. And then Luke tells us, "When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,'Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.'"

That phrase for years made me wonder for I thought I would have called out, "Do not leave me, Lord, for I am a sinner and need you!" Then, I had an experience in making a thirty-day retreat in Manresa, Spain, at the cave where Ignatius wrote the Spiritual Exercises. I was so aware of my own sinfulness that I understood Peter's cry. The Lord told Peter, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." Luke tells us that when they had brought their boats to the shore, "they left everything and followed him."

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