Reflection: Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Is.6:1-8; Ps.137; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.15:1-11; Gospel – Lk.5:1-11]

“… BUT IF YOU SAY SO…”

Once again we encounter Jesus teaching the word of God and it appears that the people were eager to hear it for they were pressing round Jesus in order to listen to him. At the same time there were others who continued with their normal daily life, who did not appear to be paying full attention to Jesus, or better still, maybe they were listening to him and doing other things at the same time. These were the fishermen in today’s gospel who had gone out of their boats and were washing their nets. It seems that they had just returned from their night’s work and getting ready to finish for the day. The seemingly lack of attention of the fishermen soon turned them into protagonists, because Jesus went into one of their boats, asked that he’d be put out a little and continued to teach the crowds from the boat. After Jesus had finished teaching, he asked the fishermen who helped him, to spend some more time with him. This time, it was not to give them other “teaching” but just to do something with them, perhaps reward them for their service (?!). He asked them to put their boat out into the deep and pay out their nets for a catch.

The owner of the boat, Simon, spoke in response to Jesus’ request and his observation appears to contain a mixture of sentiments:

*    He seems tired because they have spent the whole night fishing…

*    He seems angry because they caught nothing…

*    He seems not to believe what Jesus was saying…

*    He seems to protest to what Jesus was saying!!!

In other words he seemed that he did not want to do what Jesus had just asked them to do! But on the other hand the opposite came out of Simon’s mouth. Although unwillingly… Simon was ready to do what Jesus had asked them just because Jesus said so. As a consequence, Simon was ready to cast the same nets that they had just washed!

We all know what happened next – they caught such a huge number of fish that they had to call the other boats to come and help them, with the help of which, they managed to fill the two boats near to sinking point.

Once again we encounter the mixture of sentiments in Simon (and his companions) when Simon asked Jesus to stay away from him because Simon is a sinner while they were all “completely overcome” by the catch. Encountering Jesus gave Simon and his companions the tranquillity they needed. Jesus told Simon not to be afraid – if he was ready to listen to what Jesus had to say – Jesus will make of him a catcher of men. This seemed to constitute Simon’s (and his companions’) call to follow Jesus.

Gods’ word quite often creates in us a mixture of sentiments: sometimes we accept it, and sometimes we do not… both with reservations. When this happens, what is our reaction going to be? Are we going to do what Jesus says (“If you say so!”) and therefore “leave everything and follow him”…?

Lord, give us the wisdom to learn to listen to your word and the courage to be able to leave everything and follow you in whatever you say.  Thank You Lord!

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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