Weekly Letter (Feb 11, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

In last Sunday’s gospel reading, Luke 5:1-11, Jesus was trying to teach the people on the crowded shore when he saw two boats close by. He recognized one of them as belonging to Simon and Jesus asked to come aboard. Then Simon and his partners moved out from the shore so Jesus could speak to the people.

After speaking, he told Simon, “Put the boat out further to the deep water, and you and your partners let down your nets for a catch.” Simon responded unenthusiastically. He and the others had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Simon did not want to go fishing again but because Jesus asked him, he went farther out on the lake. The nets in both boats became so full that when the fishermen pulled them in, the huge load threatened to sink both boats. Simon, along with James and John, who were his partners on the boats, were very surprised at the large catch.

Simon had to make some difficult decisions that day. He he had to decide whether or not to allow Jesus to use his boat. He also had to make the difficult decision to agree with Jesus and move his boat into deeper water to cast the nets again. Simon must have believed that this would be futile. He was the professional fisherman and the fish were not biting. Jesus was a carpenter who grew up fifteen miles away in Nazareth. He had reason to be skeptical.

By the end of the passage, even though they had just brought in the greatest catch of their careers, Simon, James, and John decided to leave those boatloads of fish behind and follow Jesus. This encounter completely changed the focus and direction of their lives.

There was nothing extraordinary about Simon and his fishing partners. They were normal fishermen, doing what they had done every day, minding their own business, cleaning their nets after a long and disappointing night of work. Then Jesus comes along, enters into their average, normal lives and changes everything.

What does it mean for us to go fishing in deep waters? To trust and follow our consciences and make decisions when we feel we are outside of our comfort zones? To let go of what we know works, of what is certain, to have our lives reoriented? For most of us, this will not mean leaving our current professions behind as the disciples did. More likely it means being called each day to align our priorities with God’s and to use the gifts He has given us in service to others. Even in the middle of our busy and complicated lives, Jesus’ words to Simon are also words to us: “Do not be afraid.” He will keep working with us and through us. The catch is in God’s hands and His desire is for our lives to be as full as the nets the disciples pulled up.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher

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