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Liturgic day: Sunday 5th (C) in Ordinary Time

Gospel text (Lc 5,1-11): One day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around him listening to the word of God, He caught sight of two boats left at the water's edge by the fishermen now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He sat and continued to teach the crowd. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, «Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch». Simon replied, «Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets». This they did and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats almost to the point of sinking.

Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus' knees, saying, «Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!». For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made and so were Simon's partners, James and John, Zebe­dee's sons. Jesus said to Simon, «Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on». So they brought their boats to land and followed him, leaving everything.

«If you say so, I will lower the nets»

Fr. Blas RUIZ i López
(Ascó, Tarragona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel offers us a simple but profound dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter, dialogue we could also make ours: amidst the churning waters of the world's stormy seas, we try hard to swim against the tide, while hoping to fish the good news of a Gospel's announcement that bring us a fruitful answer...

But, it is then, when, unfailingly, the crude reality falls upon us; we are not strong enough. We need something else: our trust in God's Word. He, who promised He will never forsake us. «Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I will lower the nets» (Lk 5:5). Peter's answer can now be understood in relation to Mary's words during the Cana's wedding: «Do whatever he tells you» (Jn 2:5). And it is when we confidently accomplish our Lord's will when our work turns out to be really profitable.

And this, despite our limitations as sinners: «Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!» (Lk 5:8). Saint Ireneus of Lyon discovers a pedagogic aspect in sin: he who is conscient of his sinful nature is also able to recognize his condition of creature, and this recognition places us before the clear evidence of a Creator that transcend us.

Only someone who, like Peter, knows his own limitations is able to accept that the fruit of this apostolic work is not his, but belongs to Whom has been profiting from him, as of an instrument. The Lord told the Apostles that from then on they would catch men, but the true Fisherman is Him: the good disciple is nothing but the net that catches the fish, and this net only works if it is used as the Apostles did: leaving everything and following him (cf. Lk 5:11).