Sunday, February 7, 2016
Sunday Before Ash Wednesday
Shrovetide, one way we refer to the days before Ash Wednesday, is a time of joy. It is also an opportunity to give joy to many with all the parades, parties, and king-cakes - at least that is how New Orleans celebrates these days.
I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras when I was a Freshman in college. We were a group from our class and most stayed at the convent. We rode on a bus all night to get there. My Aunt Jo and Uncle Bob were there to meet me. Bob was a Colonel in the army and had invitations to one of the balls. My aunt and I were there, but in the gallery just watching the dancers below. The next day we all rode in a parade in a truck and had great fun. We made it back to Maryville just in time for our first class on Ash Wednesday having had a drawing room on the train but I was the only one with any money and a "Poor Boy" that my aunt had insisted we stop to buy on the way to the train. The money she gave me and the sandwich vanished quickly as all were hungry. We had to borrow money from the nuns at Maryville to pay the taxi driver who had let us all pile into his cab. Some joys you never forget!
Now, in today's Gospel, Jesus teaches the crowds from the boat; he told Peter to launch out into the deep and to let down his nets. Now, these professional fishermen had caught nothing all night but they agree to do what Jesus said and their nets are so full they are in danger of breaking. Jesus then tells them not to be afraid but to follow Him and they will be fishers of men. And they left all and followed Jesus. There is much to reflect on in this Gospel.