Daily Gospel Reflection – Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
September 7, 2023
Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Lk 5:1-11
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus climbs into Peter’s boat without asking permission. He simply commandeers this vessel that is central to the fisherman’s life and commences to give orders. This represents something of enormous moment: the invasion of grace.
Though God respects our relative independence, he is not the least bit content to leave us in a “natural” state. Instead, he wants to live in us, to become the Lord of our lives, moving into our minds, wills, bodies, imaginations, nerves, and bones.
This commandeering of nature by grace does not involve the compromising of nature but rather its perfection and elevation. When Jesus moves into the house of the soul, the powers of the soul are heightened and properly directed; when Jesus commands the boat of the natural human life, that life is preserved, strengthened, and given a new orientation.
This is signaled symbolically by the Lord’s directive to put out into the deep water. On our own, we can know and will within a very narrow range, seeking those goods and truths that appear within the horizon of our natural consciousness, but when grace invades us, we are enticed into far deeper waters.