Fr Bob Writes – February 7, 2016

Fr Denny Dempsey has a very interesting commentary for this Sunday’s gospel passage about the call of Peter by Jesus. This is what he says:

“Why would Jesus get into (Peter’s) boat? Doing so gave him a bit of distance from the crowd in a place where he could more easily be seen and heard by everyone.. you probably know how well sound can skip across water. Jesus also had an ulterior motive. He would have Peter and Andrew as a captive crowd while he preached. He had probably heard about them and had his eye on them as potential disciples. He was going to put their willingness to follow his guidance to the test.

Peter would naturally be a bit reluctant to lower the nets. He knew daytime fishing was not that great, that they would have to wash and dry the nets again, and they would be delayed in getting the boat into use for hauling cargo. Nevertheless, he did as Jesus had asked. This was a strong indication for Jesus, who then gave Peter and his companions the sign of the great catch. Fishermen needed two boats to spread the nets. They managed their business, took out loans for boats, and were licensed to fish the lake through syndicates which is why Peter had partners.

“Leaving everything” to follow Jesus did not mean abandoning their boats. Peter and his partners would still have to cover their expenses, pay off their loans, maintain licensing, and provide work for the crew of between six and ten other men whose families depended on their fishing jobs. Their decision to follow Jesus took all those things into account, kept the business going while they dedicated their time to Jesus, and assured that the boats would be available for their use whenever Jesus needed them for transportation around the lake. The decision to follow Christ today likewise requires that one be responsible to family and other obligations while somehow dedicating one’s life and possessions to the service of God. 

Can you see your everyday work as an opportunity to serve God rather than something mundane and unrelated to building up the kingdom of God? Peter had to face that challenge, and, initially, not able to put the two together, asked Jesus to depart from him. Jesus would convince Peter otherwise and turn his fishing experience into a means of fulfilling his mission. “