Is 6:1-2, 3-8; 1 Cor: 15:1-11;
Luke 5: 1-11
In this gospel account, Jesus is present in
the lives of these people who are needy. Luke says the people are straining to listen
to Jesus. They are pressing in on Jesus. They sense Jesus has something they
need. The fishermen sense this, too. Peter especially knows his limits – “We’ve
caught nothing” –and he comes to find out that Jesus is not nothing, but
something, ‘something else,’ something more, someone more. Jesus was a
carpenter, not a fisherman. He wasn’t supposed to know where the fish were. His
power is more than an ordinary carpenter’s power, more than a fisherman’s power.
His power is beyond the natural.
Jesus is the sacrament of the presence of God
– made visible. Grace is God’s presence in our lives, often in situations that
are beyond us, beyond our limits. In this story, Jesus does something amazing for
the fishermen, and it changes them. Luke’s gospel highlights that he comes in
to their everyday reality; these fishermen don’t go to him in the synagogue. He
meets them with his power where they are. They leave their ordinary reality, their
nets. This is a change of direction, a conversion, in their lives, very
ordinary lives. It transforms these everyday people into a new extraordinary
reality. They were touched by the presence of God, like the coal that touched
the prophet’s lips in the first reading from Isaiah.
Jesus wants to do the same to us. Remember,
God’s presence is often comes through others. This account invites us to ponder
persons whose presence in our lives changed us: a parent, a mentor, a teacher. This
person might not have been churchy. In my life, after leaving the Society of
Jesus, I needed redirection. I remember the day in 1989 a wise person advised me
to pursue earning a Ph.D.. It was like hearing, “Go out into the deep and lower
your nets.” He was a presence of God for me, what Bishop Barron calls “an
invasion of Grace.” I did not know the deep would become first Pennsylvania,
then Kentucky, then priesthood, then Harrodsburg. Pretty deep, Harrodsburg! What
about you? Such people are presences of God in our daily lives. We say they are
‘God-sends.’ We are changed and we follow a new direction.
The sacraments are encounters with Christ,
and they change us. The Eucharist, for example, can bring about a
transformation of the feelings you may bring to Mass. You leave changed. The Presence
can change us. It purifies us as the coal does to the prophet’s lips. We
acknowledge our sin, as Peter did. Then, we follow as did Peter, James and John.
We attract others as Jesus did. They sense something, and they what we have. By
our changed presence, it’s as if we say: “Come and see.”