For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
In the church in America today, there are many who have become discouraged with the decline of church attendees, or the lack of commitment even among those who go to church. Pope St. John Paul II called for a New Evangelization, a reinvigoration of our efforts as a church to encounter the Lord in a deeper way, to grow in our faith and love for him, and to witness to his salvation in the world. For some, this has translated into thinking we have to somehow save the church from itself. For everyone, this should mean that we first take time to remember what the church of disciples is truly all about.
Simon is the disciple who Jesus renames, “Peter,” the rock on which he built the church. He is not the rock because he is a perfect person. He is not the rock because he has all the answers or always says the right thing. He is not the rock because he is always in a good mood and radiating joy. When he first meets Jesus, he is tired, he is discouraged, and he has found that his physical strength and sheer will have not given him the results he desired. But he is the rock because when Jesus asks him to take his boat out again for him and then tells him to cast his net, even in the face of doubt, Simon embraced the Word through Jesus and brought his sinful self to Jesus’ feet. He is the very essence of what it means to be a disciple of God.
The call of the New Evangelization is for individuals to be reconverted themselves. It is for us to act like Simon. For though we might be tired, we might be discouraged, we might be at the end of our patience with our efforts, the call is to listen for God, to let him be the director and ourselves only the operators. We are called to bring it all to the feet of Jesus, acknowledging that it is he who does all the work, and we are but sinful people striving to be obedient to his every word. The earth is the Lord’s and so is his church. We can trust him with it. He has a plan for it and for each of our lives. The victory that the psalmist speaks of and God’s faithfulness to the house of Israel refer to his covenant with Abraham to make him a light to all nations through Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus that we have that victory. It is only through obedience to him that we can accomplish his will.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith. Help me to always trust in your will and to obey your word. Make me into a disciple who is pleasing to you. Make me strong with all the strength that comes from your glorious power, and may I be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled me to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Amen.