Hook, Line and Sinker

Luke 5: 1-11
Col 1: 9-14 / Psa 98

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”
(Luke 5:10)

Who we are bears less importance
To what we’ll become by God’s will.
Follow it without reluctance,
And our cup of blessings He’ll fill.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around Him and listening to the Word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ““Depart from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him. (Luke 5: 1-11)

Reflection

After witnessing this miraculous catch of fish, Peter and his companions could not refuse to follow their newfound Master and Lord, even though Jesus at that time was still a complete stranger to them. Evidently, Peter was the leader of the group, and whatever his decision was, the other three would follow. Note how the process of Peter’s recruitment unraveled: 1) They had toiled all night and caught nothing. 2) Peter was hesitant when Jesus gave the command to “lower their nets for a catch” (after all, every fisherman knows fishing is done at night). 3) A record catch happened in an instant, nearly sinking the two boats! 4) Peter confessed his sin (doubting Jesus), but realized it was his obedience (to lower the nets) that resulted in the great miracle catch. 5) He resisted at first (“Depart from me, Lord”) because he felt unworthy and feared leaving his profession. 6) Jesus assured him, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” Like the instant miracle that happened before his eyes, Peter was instantly converted from a mere fisherman to a great fisher of men. And the words of Jesus were proven true when after Pentecost, Peter’s moving speech added about three thousand men to join the early Church and be baptized (Acts 2:41).

Faith, like the common cold, can be catching. And you know you are caught when you begin to be obsessed with catching other souls for Jesus. But before we became “fishers of men” we thought that going to church, regularly receiving the sacraments, and avoiding grievous sins were enough to qualify us for an eternal place in God’s kingdom. We were more concerned with our businesses or professions, “washing the nets”, and there seemed to be no urgency then in putting our faith into action. We thought it could wait until “the proper time”. In effect, we did not place Jesus as the Central Figure in our life. But ever since we were called to join our renewal community, the vision of which is to “catch men and women for Christ”, like Peter, James and John we had “become hooked” by the Lord’s mission. Like Peter, we had felt inadequate, hardly qualified to be a “herald” of God’s Word. But as the saying goes, it is the Holy Spirit Who qualifies those He has called, and when we began to immerse ourselves in Scriptures, and shared the Good News of the Gospel to others, that was when we knew we were caught, hook line and sinker.

We were hesitant at first because we thought our time and efforts were needed for our business or profession and our family. But You have shown us, Lord Jesus, that you are our Great Provider, and we have nothing to fear for our needs. And so we thank You, dear God, for having invited us to join Your “fishing fleet”. We praise You for providing this “net” that has a wider, global reach. Amen.

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