In today’s Gospel from Luke, Peter did not chase Jesus away when he first got into his boat uninvited. Even though he was probably exhausted and discouraged from the night’s failure and wanted to just finish cleaning his nets and go home, Peter then followed Jesus’ request and allowed him to use his boat to preach from. Once completing this task, Jesus pressed further, and invited Peter to: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch” (Lk 5:4). Again, Peter followed this invitation instead of protesting and was blessed with a super abundant catch such that his boat began to sink.
Jesus comes to us in the same way he came to Peter. He meets us in the midst of our everyday lives. So often we think or feel that it is our initiative that draws us closer to God, when in fact, the initiative is God’s. Our very desire to pray, to seek out God is already an awareness, a recognition of his invitation to draw close. God speaks to us in the silence of our hearts, through quiet invitations and experiences, and each time we are aware, and each time, as did Peter, we say yes to his invitation we grow in our relationship.
Jesus comes to us as we are, loves as we are. We become aware of our sin and faults as we allow Jesus more access to our lives. As we put out into the deep, we are blessed by the grace and wonder of God’s glory present in our lives. For just as Peter experienced the miracle of the abundance of fish filling his nets, he became more acutely aware of the divinity of Jesus in his midst and as the light reveals those things hidden, the sin of Peter was revealed and he confessed: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8).
The deeper and more intimate our relationship grows with Jesus the more our own sin is revealed to us. We then have a choice, we can deny, rationalize or justify it, or follow Peter and confess our sin. As we face and confess our sin and weakness, we resist settling for mediocrity, we grow in holiness, humility, and receive more of the light, love, and grace of Jesus such that we can grow beyond our fear, grow deeper in our relationship with him, so to better allow ourselves to be agents of his grace and mercy in the lives of those he brings into our realm of influence.
Painting: The Miraculous Draft of Fishes by Raphael, 1515-1516