Nowhere in the Gospels do we hear that Jesus Himself was a fisherman. We hear He is the “son of the carpenter” and so it’s traditionally held that Jesus was skilled at carpentry work, as it would have been likely that St. Joseph would have shared his own skills with his foster-son, the Son of God. He’s not a fisherman and yet He stands at the shore of the sea and tells the professionals how to catch fish. Obviously there was something miraculous but we can only imagine how difficult it would have been for St. Peter to trust Jesus and to lower his nets into waters that seemed to be barren only hours before. A simple act of trust paid off for the fishermen and led them to open their hearts to the Word proclaimed in their hearing – but this was a particularly profound moment in the life of St. Peter who seems to react strongly “go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man”. Peter recognizes it is the Lord in whom He is asked to trust and this is a defining moment of faith for him but also a moment of deep conversion.
As I’ve mentioned in other blog reflections, St. Peter is my own patron saint and for this moment he has with Jesus. As a convert, I was faced with my own trust issues and I too had much to confess in my own life. Self-reflection of where the Lord encountered me and how He embraced me in the darkest moments of my own life have led me to see I am loved, a loved sinner. Like Peter, I have often wanted to hide my own face from the Lord but He will have none of it! He loves me more! He loves us more! It’s not that He loves us sinning, that’s not the case – but it’s a true and faithful love not to abandon the weak in their own misery and this is the God of love I have come to know.
Back to the Gospel for a minute: many of us go through life numb to sin. What I mean by that is we get so caught up by habit or weakness in our own pain; our own sinfulness. We have those moments of desire to make things right but they come and go because we don’t trust God enough. Either we don’t trust that He can forgive us, we don’t trust that He exists, we don’t trust that we deserve to be forgiven, we don’t trust that if He does forgive us -that we can change our lives…and the list goes on. But the profound moment for St. Peter in today’s Gospel is found in His realization of what can and has taken place when He trusted – God reveals Himself to Peter! And the same goes for us. The Lord will reveal Himself to us if we ask Him to and let Him. I know it because I was that man who rejected the Lord’s love several times before I finally trusted and my life is for Him and for others (also for Him) now. Let us consider our own trust issues, when it comes to the Lord and may we be open to His Grace as He offers it to us day by day.