Fishers of Men

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into 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.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.
(Luke 5:1-11)

Scripture Study

5:1 lake of Gennesaret: Also called the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:18) or the Sea of Tiberias (Jn 6:1).

5:5 at your command: Though exhausted from a night of unsuccessful fishing, Peter places his faith in Christ, despite the apparent odds against catching anything.

5:8 I am a sinful man: Peter’s imperfections seem magnified to him in the presence of divine holiness (Gen 18:27; Is 6:5; CCC 208).

5:10 James and John: Zebedee’s sons enjoy a close relationship with Jesus (8:51; 9:28). you will be catching men: Peter’s occupation points to his future mission, when Christ will send him and the other apostles to preach the gospel (Mt 28:18–20; Jn 21:15–17). Peter himself will play a leading role among the Twelve (22:31, 32; Acts 1:15–20; 2:14–40; 15:7–11).

5:11 they left everything: Luke’s Gospel stresses that Christian discipleship demands a loose attachment to worldly possessions and a willingness to part with them if necessary (5:28; 12:33; 14:33; 18:22).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel gives us the story of the miraculous draught of fishes. In many ways, the whole of the spiritual life can be read off of this piece.

Without being invited, Jesus simply gets into the fisherman’s boat. This is to insinuate himself in the most direct way into Simon’s life. And without further ado, he begins to give orders, first asking Simon to put out from the shore and then to go out into the deep. This represents the invasion of grace. The single most important decision that you will ever make is this: Will you cooperate with Jesus once he decides to get into your boat?

In many ways, everything else in your life is secondary, is commentary. When the Lord Jesus Christ gets into your boat, he will always lead you to the depths. Duc in altum, as St. John Paul II loved to quote. More dangerous? Yes. More exciting? Yes.

Now mind you, the depths we’re talking about here are spiritual depths. The excitement we’re talking about is the true excitement that comes from spiritual transformation. The depths have nothing to do with what the world considers important or exciting.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.