Luke 5:1-11 (NRSV)
Chapter 5Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, Verse 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Verse 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. Verse 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Verse 5Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." Verse 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. Verse 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. Verse 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" Verse 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; Verse 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." Verse 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
In the gospel reading for this week we hear another story of another person who suddenly and surprisingly stands in the presence of God, and whose life is transformed in the meeting. I wonder if Simon Peter had been really listening to Jesus as in the background he cleaned out his fishing nets. It had been a long night’s work with little to show for it. It’s easy enough to let Jesus teach from his boat, but what does Jesus know about fishing! How dare he assume to instruct Simon Peter about his livelihood? I can almost see him rolling his eyes at Jesus’ command, “Put out into the deep water.” But put out he did—and was awestruck by the enormous catch. When you feel a nudge toward a particular act of love or compassion, do you assume you already know the outcome? Or can you risk that Holiness might be close at hand, asking to work through you?
Loving and gracious God, open our eyes to see surprising possibilities in this world. Help us to trust that life contains more than we can ask for or imagine. Guide us to give witness to the power of hope. Amen.