Sunday, February 10, 2013

Looking ahead

By Father Perry D. Leiker 

Today's story is about a miraculous catch of fish. But, in reality, it is so much more.

Jesus' encounters with people were always about drawing more faith out of them. They were always about helping them see differently and to know with their hearts. Today’s Gospel is no different. Jesus, a carpenter, tells a professional fisherman how to fish. After a full night of wasted toil the fisherman were cleaning their nets -- a tiresome task, especially in light of having been so ineffective in their all-night efforts. So the carpenter says: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” When Peter and his companions catch too many fish for even "two" boats that they are ready to sink, Peter becomes aware of Jesus' knowledge and insight.

Peter sees Jesus as someone who is amazing and who amazes. Peter also becomes aware that in relationship to this man – Jesus – that he – Peter – is unworthy and a sinner. He utters striking words: "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man." The great miracle was not about fish, but about love. Jesus accepted Peter as he was and as he would reveal himself to be again and again. Peter, who would deny even knowing Jesus in his moment of need, was the one Jesus would select to lead this ragged band of apostles. He even elevated his fishing skills to become a fisherman of men, women, people, and souls.

Peter would become a sharer in Jesus' divine ministry of faith, hope and love. In Peter’s sinfulness, he found grace.

Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112.

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