Luke 5: 1-11

Today’s Gospel gives us a chance to reflect on our own biggest enemy – fear. God knows that we have fears. This word is used more than 350 times in the Bible.

If the Bible talks about it so often, then certainly God wants us to overcome these fears. Jesus comes into the world to overpower the devil, the author of fear, and to help us live in peace and love.

Our private fears come in so many different categories- health, employment, relationships with God and people, and of course, death itself.

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Jesus chose to teach his disciples about overcoming fear by using a lesson which involved the daily work of some of the disciples. They were fishermen. This incident becomes a major lesson for the apostles who are about to become “His disciples”. Using the boat as a symbol of the church, and the fish as example of those who would soon come to be believers in Jesus, He teaches the disciples to become “fishers of men.”

The disciples are tired because they have worked all night and caught nothing. They are told to move from the comfortable shallow water and go into the deep were the fish are.

What Jesus says and does is important. He has authority and power. His Word is to be listened to. Jesus does everything with only one intention – to love and serve His people.

Everyone needs God’s Word. God’s word overcomes fear! They all need to hear it. The boat or the church is the place from which the Word of God is proclaimed and where people are convinced of its power. When the apostles listened to Jesus, they caught more fish than they could imagine. There are many challenges to bring the message of God’s Word in today’s world. Many in the church today say “it’s impossible”. Some say it’s “too hard.”  Jesus says, “do not be afraid!”

Let us sincerely pray that we ourselves can come to know the truth and to acknowledge that we all need God. This is the way to eliminate fear from our hearts.

It is interesting to note that today’s gospel starts off with Jesus teaching people by the shore of the lake There are so many people, that He needs to get into a boat. People came because they need and want God’s Word.

Today we live in a world where many do not know God yet. They do not know what sin is. They do not know the Good News of God’s Word.

Jesus taught the people so that they could live free of their fears, by knowing the truth of God. The church learns from this and, as Jesus did, teaches the Word of God, formally. We have the Catechism, the bible studies, and other methods of teaching. We also must teach.

But we should also learn from Jesus’ teaching method when he teaches us without using words, He is with the disciples in the deep water. He sets the example of how they too can become “fishes of men.”

Verse 8 of the Gospel makes another very important point. Peter, seeing all the fish and having learnt his lesson, goes on his knees as an act of humility. He realizes that he is a sinner. Fear comes from sin and it is driven away by God’s Word.

Let us sincerely pray that we ourselves can come to know the truth and to acknowledge that we all need God. This is the way to eliminate fear from our hearts.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

Jesus Calls His First Disciples

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

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