Thursday, 6 September 2018 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord speaking to us, through His Apostle St. Paul, in the Epistle he wrote to the faithful in Corinth, as well as through His calling of the Apostles St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. James and St. John at the lake of Galilee. Through these words of the Scripture we are reminded that God has given us His wisdom and His truth, and He is calling on us to follow Him and put our trust in Him.

He was at the side of the lake, when He saw the boats of fishermen coming ashore without fish. He then told the fishermen, some of whom would become His disciples, to go out into the sea and cast out their net to catch the fish. St. Peter initially hesitated and said to the Lord, that they had gone out all night and were not able to catch any fishes, but he still listened to the Lord and obeyed His commands.

In the end, he and his fellow fishermen caught such a huge number of fish, that they needed help to get the fishes into their boat, that almost sunk because of the huge catch of fishes. St. Peter immediately bowed down before the Lord, begging Him for mercy and forgiveness, for he was a sinner. But the Lord was loving and kind to him and the other fishermen He called, and said that from then on, they would fish for men instead.

What do we make of this, brothers and sisters in Christ? First of all, we must understand that St. Peter and the other fishermen must have been quite experienced in their work and profession as fishermen. They were surely able to know where they could catch a lot of fishes and gather plenty of gains for themselves, but they could not find anything on that day.

We must understand the context that likely the fishermen had been going out for hours to catch the fishes, as St. Peter himself said, and they must have been tired and exhausted, disappointed and probably even angry at the lack of catch, as any one of us would, if we have done plenty of work and yet no result appeared. And for the fishermen, the last thing they needed was for someone to tell them to go and catch fishes again.

And not least the fact that such a request was made by someone, who was not even a fisherman at all, like the Lord Jesus. In their minds, they must have thought that they were good fishermen, with much skill and experience, and why they should listen to the command of a Man Who seemingly did not even know how to fish at all. Yet, they listened and did what the Lord told them to do, and they were dumbfounded by what happened, as what has been mentioned in the Gospel today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what does the readings today mean to us? First of all, linking back to what St. Paul said in his Epistle to the Corinthians, many of us if not most, tend to think that we know everything that we know in this world, in our respective areas of expertise. We think of ourselves as good, educated, intellectual and capable in the ways of the world, and we put a lot of trust in our human wisdom, intellect and power.

Therefore, what St. Peter initially said to the Lord Jesus is in fact a natural response that we mankind will often make, when the Lord speaks to us and tells us what He wants us to do. However, as we have seen and heard from the Gospel, trusting in the Lord’s words can open our eyes to the reality of the truth, that it is not our will that will be done, but the Lord’s will.

For all the wisdom, power and abilities that we have, first of all, we must realise that they all pale in comparison with the wisdom and power of God, and God alone knows what is best for us. And then, we must realise that all of our abilities, talents, knowledge, power and all ultimately came from God and were blessings that He has bestowed upon us. And He intends for us to make use of these gifts and blessings for good use.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now, are we able to put our trust in God in the same way as the Apostles had done? They left everything behind and followed the Lord, and the Lord made them the fishers of men. And many souls have been saved through their hard work and commitment, their faith and dedication that they were even willing to lay down their lives for the Lord’s sake.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, it does not mean that we have to follow the exact same way as the Apostles, leaving everything behind to serve the Lord. What is important is that, we must discern what is our true calling in life, by listening to God speaking in our hearts, and by quietening ourselves from all the noise of this world, and from all the temptations of pride in our hearts.

Let us all seek to be humble and to be open to the Lord’s calling in our hearts, and learn to put our complete trust in Him. Let us no longer be proud or haughty, arrogant or be ambitious, thinking that we alone know what is best for us. May the Lord be our Guide, and may He continue to watch over us in our lives. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

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