One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

September 06, 2007

For Thursday of the Twenty-Second Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Luke 5:1-11

Despite Simon’s own experience as a fisherman, and even after an entire fruitless night of fishing, Simon still obeys the command of Jesus:
Put out into deep water
and lower your nets for a catch.

Obedient to the command of Jesus, Simon sees so many fish fill the nets that these begin to tear; and the weight of the catch is so great that it threatens two boats with sinking.
Jesus then tells Simon that instead of fish, “From now on you will be catching men.”
Catching fish KILLS the fish.
Here, in the original language of the Gospel, Jesus does not use the normal word for “catch” [agreuo].
Instead he uses a word [zogron, zogreo] that points to taking men INTO LIFE.
From now on you will be taking men INTO LIFE.

The power and the vocation in today’s Gospel event is present each time we put out into the depths of the Lord’s Work in his Eucharist.
Like Simon and his fellow fishermen, we might live and work fruitlessly in the darkness.
In his Eucharist, Christ steps aboard our boat.
First he teaches his Gospel to the crowds.
Then, despite any or all of our defeated experiences in the dark, he tells us to row out to the deepest waters and get to work.
The only difference now is that the Eucharistic Lord goes with us.
With Christ in Simon’s boat, with Christ luring the fish, Simon’s nets began to tear, and Simon needed to call for the help of his fellow fishermen and their boat.
Even then, what Christ had done was nearly too much for the two boats, and they were in danger of sinking.
Having the Eucharistic Lord with us and mightily at work, our boats can still sink, and our nets can still tear, for, as Simon says today in the Gospel, each of us is “a sinful man.”
To a certain point only, we may rely on some help from others like ourselves.
Christ who is with us in his Eucharist makes our work bear fruit whose weight is too much for each to bear alone.
Each of us needs the entire Church, needs to be in communion with the Church, in cooperation with the Church.
Though Simon has the help of James and John in handling the great catch, he recognizes the holy one whose power is at work.
Simon does not celebrate the awesome outcome of his own hard work.
Instead, he owns up to being a sinner who has merely obeyed the Lord.
... he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord,
for I am a sinful man.”

We know the same truth in the Lord’s Eucharist.
“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”
As to Simon in the boat, Jesus says to his Church:
Do not be afraid.
From now on you will be taking men INTO LIFE.

The Eucharistic Lord sends his Apostolic Church to pull humanity out of the deep waters of sin and death, and onto the shore of God’s kingdom of life.
With the power of the Eucharistic Lord, we are to carry out the last words of today’s Gospel.
They left everything and followed Jesus.

That God Be Glorified in All


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