Have you ever considered how often the Lord met people at work: farmers in the field; women, caring for the household;shepherds, out all night with the flock.
Do we find Jesus during our work day? He’s there; do we pause to talk with him? This may surprise you, but even as a priest, if I don’t make the effort, I can go from morning to night, and not pray!
The Lord is ready to be with us at our work. In the Gospel, he seeks out fishermen. He catches Simon, Andrew, James and John, at the end of a long, unfruitful night.
And he tells them, “Put out into the deep!”
We know it’s about more than fish—and yet, it is, still, about fish! See how that works? Our encounters with the Lord always go deeper; and yet they still are about our daily lives, as well. Daily devotion and prayer doesn’t get in the way; rather, it helps get past the shallows, into the Deep.
Put out into the Deep, the Lord said: one of the reminders from Vatican II was that every baptized believer is called to sanctify the world through our ordinary lives. That’s not the job of priests and deacons! Our job is to sanctify the Body of Christ, the Church. It is the members of his Body—all the baptized—whom he sends to sanctifying the world.
Some of us, some of our friends and family, are called,
like Simon, Andrew, James and John to be his priests.
How do you hear that call? As in today’s Gospel—you encounter the Lord! Rarely is it a dramatic moment. More often, it comes through our daily lives, as we pray, go to confession frequently, and faithfully take part in Sunday Mass. However it happens, when we realize Jesus is calling us, “leaving all to follow him” isn’t a question of easy or hard; it’s just what you do.
Parents, don’t be afraid to promote the priesthood or religious life for your children. It’s not that you’re going to “talk them into it.” Just realize how many other voices there are going the other way. Your task is to give them every advantage so they know they can freely hear, and respond…to whatever the Lord calls them to.
This week, we emphasized Catholic education. We focus on our schools—and they are vital; but we remember, being well formed in our Faith happens in lots of ways, first and foremost in the family; and it is a lifetime project. Part of putting out into the Deep is realizing that “the minimum” isn’t enough. When we share our Faith, people will ask questions…and most won’t call me—instead, they’ll ask you.
Will you be ready to answer those questions? Are we willing to put out into the Deep?
But the call is not only for some; he is calling every one of us, out into the Deep.
We might ask ourselves, candidly: do we see it as our responsibility to make a catch for the Lord? Are we out there, fishing for souls, everyday? It does matter whether people follow Jesus—He is the world’s only hope! And it is our job to help as many find him as possible. The task is urgent; so many on the wrong road.
We might be afraid; we are certainly unequal to the task. Simon fell to his knees, overwhelmed. He was sure his sins would get in the way. But the Lord had only this answer: Don’t be afraid. "And they left all, and followed him."