Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day each and every one of us are reminded of our calling as Christians to be involved and to be active in the works and the missions of the Church, in our respective capacities and in whatever way that God has called us to. For God has given each and every one of us distinct and unique gifts and blessings that we can use to glorify God and to serve Him.
However, unfortunately, more often than not, we are reluctant to make good use of the gifts and talents, the abilities and blessings which God has given to each and every one of us. We even ended up misusing them and abusing the gifts and blessings that God has granted us. We often find excuses and reasons how we can avoid our responsibilities and duties as what the Lord has entrusted to us all as Christians.
We are often too preoccupied and too busy with worldly matters that we fail to recognise God’s calling and His words speaking in the depths of our hearts and minds. Our busy schedules, our many concerns and desires in life, our preoccupations prevented us from opening ourselves to God and from listening to the words that He wants each and every one of us to hear and to know. That is why we ended up going down the wrong path in life and making the wrong choices and decisions.
Today, in the Gospel passage we have heard, we listened to the story of the Lord Jesus and His disciples, who were at the Lake of Gennesaret. While the Lord was speaking to the people and taught them, the disciples went fishing on a boat and they did not manage to catch any fish all night long. The Lord came to them and spoke with them, asking them to put out their nets into the deep waters that they would be able to catch the fishes.
Initially, the disciples hesitated and asked the Lord, as they had not caught any fish during the entirety of the night. Thus perhaps they had doubts that they would be able to catch anything if at all if they listened to the Lord and did what He had asked them to do. They obeyed eventually regardless and as soon as they did what the Lord had asked, they caught so many fishes that the nets almost broke.
Through what the Lord has revealed to His disciples, we are therefore reminded of the primary mission that God has entrusted to His Church, and that is the salvation of souls, the souls of mankind, all those who have lived in the darkness of this world, the corruption of sin and the ignorance of God. Those fishes in fact symbolise the people of God and the lake represents the world we are all living in today.
The disciples on the boat represent all of us Christians whom God had called from this world to be His followers and disciples. The boat they were in represents the Church, into which all the people who believe in God are gathered in. That is why the Lord called His disciples to be the ‘fishers of men’, as they were tasked to gather all of God’s people and call them to the salvation through faith and through the Church.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is the significance of today’s Scripture readings and what we have discussed thus far? It is the need for us all to realise that as God’s people, as Christians, all of us have also been entrusted by God with the same mission that He has provided for us, the evangelisation and conversion of the world. And just as the disciples listened to the Lord and put out into the deep waters, it is often that we too must ‘put out into the deep’.
What does it mean? It means that often we may have to make sacrifices and extra effort in serving the Lord and in doing what we are supposed to do as Christians, in reaching out to others and all those whom we care for, in how we live our lives with faith and following the examples of the saints. It means that we may have to suffer and endure difficulties along the way, and we may have many obstacles that we will have to overcome.
Today, we also celebrate the feast of a great and renowned saint of recent years whose life certainly embodies this attitude. I am sure we are familiar with St. Teresa of Kolkata, known well as Mother Teresa during her life. Born as an Albanian Catholic by the name of Agnes Bojaxhiu, St. Teresa of Kolkata heard the calling of God and joined the religious life early in her life and went on to India as part of her mission.
And while initially she had a comfortable life as a religious and educator in a missionary run school, she was called to a higher and greater purpose when the terrible poverty being present in the city of Calcutta (or Kolkata) moved her to establish a new religious congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, of those who also want to dedicate themselves to the care of the least fortunate, the least privileged, the ostracised and those who had none to love them.
We have heard how St. Teresa of Kolkata reached out to many of the poorest, those who suffered grievously and treated in many ways less than how a human ought to be treated, and returned human dignity to them in how she cared for them and provided for them. St. Teresa of Kolkata showed us all how she truly lived out her faith in her life, and evangelise the faith through real and concrete actions.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow in the footsteps of St. Teresa of Kolkata and many other saints who have shown such great faith and sincerity in following God throughout their lives? Are we able to listen to God and His calling, in how He shows us the path forward that we should take in living our lives with faith? Let us all truly ‘put out into the deep’ and be truly faithful in all things, and do our very best with all of our hearts and with all of our strength to serve God and to love our brethren from now on.
May the Lord continue to guide us and may He bless all of our good works and endeavours, that by our witnesses for our faith and by the sincerity of our words and actions, many more come to believe in God and receive His salvation. Amen.