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September 03, 2020

Gregory the Great

Lk 5: 1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

A Transformative Encounter 

With crowds pressing in on him, Jesus gets into a boat so he can continue teaching. Whether it’s more pedagogical strategy or self-care, by changing his location, Jesus also encounters Simon, who is exhausted and frustrated, having fished all night with nothing to show for it.  

Six months of living through a pandemic makes it easy to relate to Simon; who isn’t exhausted or frustrated? Simon has a lot to do—clean his nets, figure out how to feed his family without any fish, and get some sleep—but Simon stops what he’s doing and listens to Jesus. I’m not sure if he relents or perseveres, but Simon goes out to fish again. Simon may have been initially irritated by this encounter, but he leaves it transformed.  

If we are feeling tired, anxious, or stressed, perhaps we—like Simon—should look and listen for how Jesus is trying to refresh and renew us. Jesus tells us: I am with you. Don’t give up. More is possible.  

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

God of Life, put me in touch with your nearness. Help me to see you in each person I encounter today. Open my heart to your presence and power so I can share in your peace, mercy, and healing. I ask for restoration and resilience so I can be a witness of your unfailing love at work in the world, reminding each person I meet that you make all things new.  

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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September 03, 2020

Gregory the Great

Lk 5: 1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

 

A Transformative Encounter 

With crowds pressing in on him, Jesus gets into a boat so he can continue teaching. Whether it’s more pedagogical strategy or self-care, by changing his location, Jesus also encounters Simon, who is exhausted and frustrated, having fished all night with nothing to show for it.  

Six months of living through a pandemic makes it easy to relate to Simon; who isn’t exhausted or frustrated? Simon has a lot to do—clean his nets, figure out how to feed his family without any fish, and get some sleep—but Simon stops what he’s doing and listens to Jesus. I’m not sure if he relents or perseveres, but Simon goes out to fish again. Simon may have been initially irritated by this encounter, but he leaves it transformed.  

If we are feeling tired, anxious, or stressed, perhaps we—like Simon—should look and listen for how Jesus is trying to refresh and renew us. Jesus tells us: I am with you. Don’t give up. More is possible.  

Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, a graduate of Marquette University High School, Marquette University, and Boston College; he is also the author of The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity (Orbis, 2020).  

 

Prayer

God of Life, put me in touch with your nearness. Help me to see you in each person I encounter today. Open my heart to your presence and power so I can share in your peace, mercy, and healing. I ask for restoration and resilience so I can be a witness of your unfailing love at work in the world, reminding each person I meet that you make all things new.  

—Marcus Mescher


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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