Sunday Gospel Reflection
“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Blessed John Paul II).
Pope John Paul II energized and activated the Catholic faithful during his pontificate, because he was sure of one thing: Faith without action is futile. Young people flocked to him in droves, because he challenged them to become impassioned apostles of Christ.
In today’s Gospel (the one which our blessed Pope chose as the motif of his pontificate), Christ wins over Peter and his first Apostles, first, by challenging their faith; second, by calling them to action.
As John Paul II observes, Jesus Christ always takes the initiative. Before he reveals the fullness of his power, he invites us to take a leap of faith.
On the shores of Capharnaum, Jesus summons Peter with a seemingly unreasonable request, to go back out and cast the nets after a night of unsuccessful fishing. Peter, an expert fisherman, must swallow his pride and give Jesus the benefit of the doubt. “At your command,” he says, “I will lower the nets.”
The Spark of Faith: Christ takes the initiative in our life. We are challenged. If we rise to the challenge, by exercising our faith, that is when Jesus begins to work miracles in our life.
Peter trembles with fear and astonishment at the miraculous catch. What he does not realize is that Jesus is not done with him yet. Jesus calls for yet another, bigger, leap of faith.
This time, Peter knows his response will entail greater commitment. Jesus asks him to leave behind everything and assume a new life. As the story continues, “They (Peter and companions) left everything and followed him,” but the story does not end there.
For Peter and the Apostles, a life of uncertainty awaited them: three long years of ups and downs, continued trials for their faith, and for most of them, ultimately, martyrdom. And still, the story continues…
The story continues today with the Church, and with you.
“Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power … Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of states, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development” (John Paul II, October 22, 1978).
Consider for example the sucessor of Peter.
Pope John Paul II, is called “the Great,” because his great faith inspired people to do great things for the Church. He taught us that we are all called to be great saints. He taught us by his example, in health and in sickness, that we are all called in one way or another to take up the challenge and follow Christ every day of our lives.
Do not be afraid to let Christ enter your life and challenge you to do great things.
(Oh… and speaking of fish, Lent is just around the corner!)