“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!........Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Lk. 5: 8,10.
Every time I read this Gospel I remember a phrase that was said years ago: “God writes straight on crooked lines”. This was expressed when humanely sometimes there was no solution to difficulties.
In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus presents himself to us teaching in the lake from Peter’s boat. Then Jesus invites Peter and His disciples to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch”. Despite their doubts about the previous night’s failure they agree and throw their nets and the result is a miracle.
I feel upon reading this Gospel that Jesus was alone until now, preaching and healing. From this moment on he will be accompanies by His disciples that will become “fishers of men”.
However I would like to point out something that “touched” me. It is the words of Peter: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”. This phrase is repeated many times in the evangelizing work of the Apostles. When they have to face a lake sometimes empty of fish where they will become frustrated and say: “We have worked hard all night and collected nothing”. What is working so hard and sacrificing so much for? Yet, Peter gives us the answer: “At your command I will lower the nets”.
This lesson teaches us to allow the Lord to write straight His plan of salvation in situations that seem at times without solution especially when we are discouraged and lacking faith or feeling the indifferences of others. In these moments Peter, the head of the Church, repeats to us to trust and “at His command lower the nets”. We sometimes forget that the work is of the Lord as Paul says: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God (that is) is with me”. 1 Cor 15:10.
Let us ask the Lord in the Eucharist to help us trust in Him even when we sometimes do not see results in our evangelizing fishing. The Apostle Peter exhorts us to “have faith and cast the nets in the name of the Lord” because “the Lord’s time is perfect and He writes straight on crooked lines”.