BY: Deacon Bill Frere
HOMILY FOR THURSDAYSEPTEMBER 1 2022
Gospel – Luke 5:1-11
How many times have you walked away from a challenge? Turned your back on something so new and different that you were afraid? Something that you knew would completely change your life? Either it was too radically different or you were too comfortable with the life you were living?
12 years ago I was happily teaching high school religion. Life was good and very full, not only as a teacher but as a husband, father and grandfather. And I knew retirement was not that far away. But then a chance comment after Mass changed everything. Have you ever thought about becoming a Deacon? Simple answer – NO! End of story, or so I thought. But the possibility kept nagging at me and I kept ignoring it. I figured – fine, I will just wait for that obvious lightning bolt from heaven, just to be sure. Reluctant to change, sure! Nervous about upsetting my life – absolutely! Difficult choice? Actually ‘choice’ is not the right word. Response is more accurate – response to the call. So yes it was a difficult response but also one that ended up merging my home life, my work life and my spiritual life into one. In the end, there was no lightning bolt, only a gentle call that comes to you where you are at and offers you a new direction. (More about that some other time)
Peter, in today’s Gospel, is given that call. He has already seen Jesus preach in the synagogue in Capernaum. He has seen Him cure his mother-in-law. And now coming to shore after a long and fruitless night of fishing, Jesus asks to borrow his boat to preach to the crowd. OK, fine! But then Jesus asks him to put back out onto the Sea of Galilee. Peter is reluctant but OK, fine! And they catch a multitude of fish. When they get to shore, Jesus asks Peter the really challenging question – drop everything and follow Me! Leave your home, your wife and family, your job and friends and take on a new challenge. Peter is afraid; he knows he isn’t perfect and he asks Jesus to leave him in his unworthiness. But Jesus persists and Peter answers the call. He doesn’t merely say YES! Peter leaves everything behind and follows Jesus!
Are we really any different? Wouldn’t our first response to Jesus’ call be the same? Go away from me; I am a sinful person. You don’t want me! Jesus comes to each one of us – not with a lightning bolt or a burning bush. He meets us where we are at; he meets us in the events of our ordinary lives and offers us the challenge not to separate our spiritual life from home and work but to make it all one. To make our faith and love of God the focus of our daily life, not just something we do on a Sunday morning.
And when our response is one of fear or shame or unworthiness, Jesus answers us in the simplest of words – do not be afraid!
Creator, help me to let go of old ways, old thoughts. Let me be open to change and to growth and let that change be an opportunity for me to draw closer to You!
Deacon Bill Frere