Homily for Thursday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Holy Ghost Church – 8:00 Mass
1 Corinthians 3:18-23; Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; Luke 5:1-11
Have any of you watched The Chosen? This is a video series about the lives of the apostles, the Pharisees and others living at this time that imagines how their daily lives might have been before and after they encounter Jesus. While many of the scenes are fictional, by which I mean they are not recorded in the gospels, they are told in such a way that awakens our imagination by filling in many of the conceivable details surrounding the gospel stories. I find The Chosen to be delightful and inspirational. I’d encourage you to watch the first two seasons if you haven’t yet done so.
The fictional background in The Chosen for today’s gospel reading is that Simon and Andrew are in trouble with the occupying Roman authorities for being behind in their taxes. Fishing has not been very good lately and Matthew the tax collector has been charged with keeping a close eye on Jesus’ new friends. I won’t go into all the details, but it makes for a very interesting back story to the miracle of this huge catch of fish in today’s gospel reading.
If we allow our imaginations to embrace this imagined back story, we can even more fully understand the depth of Simon’s despair after having fished all night long without catching a thing. Here he is coming back to shore in the morning and the first thing Jesus does is to get into his boat. I’m sure Simon had other things to do than to have his boat serve as the platform for this teacher he had recently met. I suspect his mind was preoccupied with the disappointment of not having caught any fish and thinking about what the heck he was going to do now to come up with the taxes he owed. But he obliges the Lord.
After teaching from Simon’s boat for awhile, Jesus tells him to go out into deep water and lower his nets for a catch. Simon’s experience of a night of catching nothing would surely make him think that it’s pointless to try again. Nonetheless, he obeys: “at your command I will lower the nets.” Simon accepts this invitation to trust Jesus to do something that to his logical mind seems impossible, maybe even crazy.
And the result of his trust, of his obedient response to this seemingly illogical command of Jesus? “They caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.” Not only was Simon’s tax problem solved by the money that he would be paid for this incredible catch, but he was also given a new purpose in life. He was told that from now on he would not be catching fish, he would be catching men.
As we reflect on how Jesus came into Simon’s boat and, upon being welcomed and obeyed, he dramatically changed Simon’s life, let’s ponder how Jesus might be coming into our boats. What is he asking us to do that might seem to our logical minds to be pointless or even a bit crazy? How is he asking you and me to trust him, especially in those areas of our lives where we may have toiled, possibly for years, without any favorable results? Are we willing to listen to him when he asks us to do something that seems to us to be impossible, especially if we have been worrying and praying about a situation for a long time, with no apparent resolution in sight? Are we willing to step out in faith and try again when we hear God tell us to do something we have tried to do on our own with no result?
Today let us resolve to really listen to the urgings of the Holy Spirit and be willing to venture into the deep waters Christ is calling us into. Let’s stop trying to figure everything out on our own and simply listen to what Jesus is telling us to do, even it it doesn’t make sense to us. God expects of us greater things than we can do by ourselves. When we cooperate in his works, trusting his power and his love for us, we can accomplish far more what we can ever do on our own. Amen? Amen!