Homily – February 6, 2022

V Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year C

I have been watching the show The Chosen – a magnificent show on the life of Jesus. That which is interesting about this show is that it tries to fill in the gaps that the Gospels leave blank. Normally I am not a huge fan when a show or movie such as this that takes some liberties in what Jesus would have said or how He would have responded. This show is different. Episode 4 of season 1 depicts this scene in our gospel reading today… Jesus asks a favor of Simon and Andrew to use their boat to teach the crowd … Simon is not at all interested. Having fished all night and caught nothing he is no doubt tired, disappointed, worried … Jesus says to him: allow me a few moments. Those few moments would change his life forever …

St. Luke tells us that Jesus commands Simon-Peter to “put out into the deep” … Some translations use the term ‘launch’ – which means to set in motion, start something. The original Greek terminology gives us the impression that Jesus is asking Simon-Peter to go back, to reset … Combining these two interpretations lets say Jesus is asking Simon-Peter to go back out into the deeper water and start something new. In this short passage not only do we hear of the call of the first disciples but also what will be their mission – fishers of men, to gather all people into one flock. Essentially Jesus unveils their vocation. The more time they spend with Him, the more they get to know Him, the clearer their vocation becomes. That which I find fascinating about this scene – about the call of the disciples is that Jesus does so in the context of their own lives, of that with which they are familiar … fishing. The play on words here is noticeable. And by listening to the Lord’s command, following His call, they become the men they were destined to be.

This scene is striking because it is rather dramatic. Simon has a very powerful encounter with Jesus that changes his life forever. Yet not too many of us share such profound experiences of encounters with God. Because if we did, wouldn’t that make it easier to stay connected? I think that often we tend to be like Simon-Peter, before he met Jesus … tired, overworked, stressed, concerned about work and family … many things can become distractions … But he lets Jesus into his boat, he gives him “a few moments” and listens to His “command” – maybe just to shut Him up, prove a point, that this is not worth it … But it starts something new … it changes him.

The point here being that maybe this is what Jesus asks of all us… To give Him a few moments within the framework of our everyday lives, to get back to the basics of prayer, regular confession, the practice of virtue… He instructs us – commands us – to go back out there into our lives and start new… to be His disciples out in the world with which we are so familiar … that just might lead to a more profound encounter with God, it might just change our perspective on life, relationships, faith … it might change our lives and begin to mold us into the men and women we were always destined to become …

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