While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, and leaving everything they followed Him. Luke — 5: 1-11
It’s been a windy and cold September day here in Buenos Aires. Smoke from the recent Amazon forest fires may be blocking some of the sunlight therefore making this early part of the month quite cold, colder perhaps than the previous month. That is not the only unusual thing going on around here. Yours truly seems to be under some kind of divine schedule for synchronicity.
This morning I arrived a few minutes late to Mass due to some unusual heavy traffic. It was a bitter cold morning. To avoid being a nuisance I remained in a back pew near the middle of the nave. About ten or fifteen people were in attendance. Everything went normally from there but at a certain point of the Mass the wind unexpectedly blew open the lateral door of the Church just a few feet from where I was standing. The cold wind startled me and as I looked in the direction of the open door, I noticed that next to the entrance there was a large image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. “Our Lady may come in any time” I thought.
Later during the day I decided to go to the evening Mass at a different parish. It was a good Mass with good attendance in spite of the even more bitter cold. The reading of the Gospel was the one I copied at the beginning of this post.
We have revisited this story here many times. I never seem to have enough of it but this evening when I heard it one more time, I thought: “We are going into the deep” and I remembered my surprise as the door flung open by itself that morning.
Peter and his men had been toiling all night for naught. When they returned ashore, Jesus asked them to use the boat as a platform, most likely to take advantage of the natural amplification effect of the quiet waters. After preaching to the people gathered at the beach, Jesus instructs Peter to go into the deep part of the lake. Peter is surprised. Not having caught anything at all at night, he knew for certain that there was going to be even less fish to catch during the day. Yet, off they go and the catch turns to be quite abundant.
Think of this: our time is perhaps the darkest hour in what has been the long-long night of man’s toiling upon this earth. Observing the world, one can hardly deny the fact that Our Lord may irrupt into our world anytime. He will then lead us out of the shallow pestilent waters we are threading today. We will hear his voice once again to go into the deep. We will find out that we cannot ignore his orders. And we will be transformed like Peter and his men, in one instant of time. He will lead us to an age of history we cannot even imagine yet.
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. — 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 NRSVACE
Peter and his men could not remain mere fishermen. They had to be transformed. “The deep” acquires a double meaning, the obvious is the deepest part of the Lake of Gennesaret but now it is also that deep part of our soul. There lives a man we do not yet know. That man is just like me and you but yet, so different from us as Peter the Fisherman of Galilee was different from Peter the First Bishop of Rome.
Expect the door to that new world to be flung open at any time. When you see that happen, abandon everything and follow Him.