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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

June 26th: Memorial of Saint Josemaría, Presbyter
Gospel text (Lk 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.

«Lower your nets for a catch»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the celebration of St. Josemaría reminds us of the "Good News" that all of us - without exception - are called to seek holiness in the middle of the world. It was not in vain that John Paul II defined the figure of St. Josemaría - on the day of his canonization - as "the Saint of Ordinary Life".

While other authors (St. Francis de Sales, for example) had already suggested that holiness is also a divine call directed to the lay faithful to the Church, St. Josemaría’s message, however, has been prophetic in the 20th century. Actually, the Vatican Council II meant a "Copernican Turn" in the Church’s self-understanding: she is not essentially a hierarchical elite, but she is "God's people", represented by that fishermen boat with which Jesus frequently sailed the sea waters. And it was from there, from some fishermen boat, that He called them to Holiness ("men fishers") without having to leave behind neither sea nor nets.

«Go away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man (...). - Don’t be afraid. From now on you will fish for people » (Lk 5:8-10). The boat, the nets, the sea... They imply no hindrance to holiness: on the contrary, they are an opportunity of Holiness for the majority of the disciples of Christ. In St. Josemaría’s own words, «what amazes you seems natural to me -that God has sought you in the practice of your profession! That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, John and James, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house’... And – wonder of wonders! Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of Christians».

It is true that they «left everything and followed him» (Lk 5:11), but it is also true that this did not stop them from being what they had always been: workers! The Lord’s request is still valid: «…and let down the nets for a catch » (Lk 5:4).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Each day be conscious of your duty to be a saint. — A saint! And that doesn’t mean doing strange things. It means a daily struggle in the interior life and in heroically fulfilling your duty right through to the end.” (Saint Josemaría)

  • “This saintly priest taught that Christ must be the apex of all human activity (cf. Jn 12:32). His message impels the Christian to act in places where the future of society is being shaped. From the laity's active presence in all the professions, there can only come a positive contribution to the strengthening of that harmony between faith and culture.” (Saint John Paul II)

  • “‘All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity’ (Vatican II). All are called to holiness: ‘Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nº 2013)