The word “Catch” is being repeated and is the key word in today’s gospel reading. We use the word ‘catch’ in our daily communication and sometimes we do not even notice it. My favorites would be to ‘catch up on sleep’ or ‘catch up with friends’. However, today the word brings greater meaning as it is the invitation of Jesus to follow him and leave everything behind.
It is a call to new purpose which is to leave our old ways behind us; this fits into the theme of the Chinese New Year celebrations when we wear new clothes and this makes the gospel reading, for me, more meaningful.
“After Jesus had finished speaking , he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch. Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing”(Luke 5:1-11).
Many times, we try to do things on our own and most of the time, we end up with nothing because Jesus has to be in us. With Jesus present in our lives,we are able to do so much more, even exceeding our expectations. But first, we need to trust Jesus and listen to his command which is his word. Are we able to catch his words? He is the soft prompting in our hearts when we are at a lost or vulnerable and the quiet voice who guides us to a way out.
Wait, before we are able to follow Jesus, there is this obstacle which is our unworthiness. This is a huge issue for me as I continuously feel the sense of dread and shame that I am not worthy of Jesus because I have let him down so many times, an aspect I am not proud of. I could identify with Simon Peter after he saw Jesus for who he really is.
Simon said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”.Jesus said to Simon,”Do not be afraid; for now on you will be catching men”(Luke 5:1-11).
Despite all the sins and the stain of unworthiness weighing down on Simon Peter, Jesus saw potential in him and assured him by giving him a mission. This mission was to go out and catch people and journey with them, in becoming fishers or disciples of men. Simon Peter did not reject Jesus despite knowing that he was a fisherman and Jesus was a carpenter. He still listened to Jesus and carried out the mission of evangelisation and service to others when he made the choice to follow Jesus. We must know that Jesus has never given up on us, so we should never turn away from him either.
We are called to be fishers of men in spreading the good news and journeying with one another, just like how the disciples made the effort to leave their old ways and past lives to walk together with Jesus. The catch is to always remind ourselves that we, although unworthy, know that Jesus died for our sins and forgiveness is plenty for those who seek it.
In the month of February, may we keep Pope Francis’ prayer intentions in mind, “That we may take good care of creation- a gift freely given- cultivating and protecting it for future generations. That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia.”
The importance of inter-faith and religious dialogue is very timely that we as Christians stand united with other religious faith which I wrote in this letter which is to help one another through religion and not to spread misguidance of religious ideologies. Will we stand against violence and terrorism as one for the greater good of peace and humanity?
As we go about with the festive celebrations and enjoy the long weekend, may we be reminded and make the conscientious effort to know that we are worthy to be disciples of Jesus and that all are called in the mission of Christ. God Bless!
Here I am, Lord; send me!
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong