Last Sunday’s Gospel told us about a story when Jesus commanded Peter, a fisherman, to put out into deep water and lower the nets for a catch. Peter was indifferent, at first, because he had been fishing the whole night and caught nothing. But he still decided to obey the Lord’s command and his boat was filled with so much catch that it nearly capsized.
If we will try to imagine the scene, Peter was a man filled with disgust and maybe he was feeling depressed after fishing the whole night and caught nothing. Fishing was his main trade and it meant a lot for him, if not the whole world for him. He was sad because he got nothing that night before to feed his family and to cover his day-to-day existence. Now, when Christ told him to lower his nets again into the deep waters, he timidly obeyed and he obeyed because he might have seen the previous miracles performed by Christ.
The big catch was both and inspiration for him to really follow Christ, and a temptation for him to just hold back and simply do what he has been doing all his life, the life of a fisherman. The big catch was an eye-opener for him that the ocean was still filled with a variety of priceless fishes that he can catch if he will only obey the words of the Christ.
However, we all know that the story ended with Peter leaving everything behind and decided to follow the Lord. He was not beaten by the alluring big catch which can make him rich and a respected fisherman in his neighborhood. Instead, he decided to follow the words of Jesus, who did not even look on him as a sinful man after he prostrated himself in front of Jesus, but rather Jesus looked at Peter as a fitting tool for his ministry of spreading the Good News of God’s Kingdom.
In this world, we are all tempted with money, power and pleasure. We want a lot, if not all of the money and power that we can get. Sometimes we can get so lucky to have more than enough than what we really need, and sometimes we can also be so unlucky to have nothing even the basic needs. Like Peter, we can also be so arrogant with our talents and abilities so we only believe in ourselves, that we can do everything and anything for our survival and little by little have a prosperous life for ourselves.
I wonder if this miracle happened to me, maybe I will try to acquire a bigger net and a larger boat so that I will have a bigger catch next time. Maybe I will try my skills and sweet-talk the Lord to just stay by the shore whenever I will decide to go fishing. Maybe I will end to be the world’s greatest fish magnate of all time.
Peter’s story ended up by leaving everything behind and he decided to follow Christ and accepted the challenge to become fishers of men. This decision was his real putting out into the deepest deep of his faith in God. He left behind his promising future as a fisherman and embarked on a shadowy journey to become a follower of Christ. Yes, at first it might have appeared to Peter as an uncertain journey because the mission of Christ was not yet clear to him.
I had been tempted to rely on things that I know I can do. I have my talents and abilities; I have my options open and I can decide to just do what I want to do with my life. I know and I believe that I will not end up as a loser even if I did not pursue the priesthood. Even as a priest, this kind of temptation is still present. I was tempted not to go back to the diocese when I had my chance to serve in other places where I get a larger income than serving here in our diocese. But I decided to go back because this is also my way of putting out into the deep waters of my faith.
We only need to listen to the voice of God who speaks to us even in this noisy world. We still need to look for his face amidst all the worldly beauties that are paraded in front of us. We still need to feel him in his agony in the sufferings of our hungry brothers and sisters around us. We need to decide now to just let go of everything that we have and everything that we value in this world so we can really follow him to the foot of his cross.
Our decision to leave everything behind in order to follow Christ more closely is all that we need, so we can really go out into the deep and lower our nets to be filled with God’s graces and blessings. We can be transformed by being a mere fisherman and become fishers of man. Be transformed from a being a sinner into a vessel of God’s grace. If we can only allow God to use us for his purpose, then, we can say that we have put out into the deep of our faith.