Sometimes we aren’t aware of God’s goodness, or our egos get in the way for we want to be number one
John Shea tells todays Gospel story in a different way.
“Peter wanted to show Jesus that he was the greatest fisherman in all of Galilee. So Peter and Jesus got in Peter’s boat to go out fishing. The other fishermen, knowing Peter always found fish, asked if they could come along. Peter said sure.
“As the boats left, Peter went through his way of finding the fish – tasting the water, scanning the sky, peering down into the lake, then gave the word – “Over there.” All the boats made a circle and let down their nets – but caught nothing. They became angry at Peter for not finding fish and for getting them out in the best part of the day. So they left and went back home.
“But Peter wanted to save his reputation so he and Jesus fished all day, in the burning sun, and caught nothing. Finally being tired, they headed for home. As they neared the shore, the miracle happened. The fish surrounded the boat leading it, and then the fish all began to jump into the boat, landing on the astonished Peter and on the laughing Jesus’ lap, until the boat was so full of fish it was about to sink.
“When the boat came to shore, the other fishermen gathered around Peter and the boat telling Peter he really was the greatest fisherman in all of Galilee. Peter was uncharacteristically silent. He only said, “Give the fish to everyone. Tonight, no one in this village will go without food.”
“Later Peter said to Jesus, “Go away from me. You go away from me. I wanted the fish to be over them not with them. I wanted the fish to rule them not feed them. You go away from me. I am a sinful man.” But Jesus only smiled with the smile that crept over the water at the dawn of time, the smile that moves the sun and the stars. And Jesus had no intention of going away. There were other fish to catch.”
It was this miracle that helped Peter grow into being a real disciple. A disciple that comes to know Jesus, encounters God, listens from that heart knowledge and love. And when a miracle happens, to receive it with thanks and perhaps wonderment, discern what’s next, and then give it away.
We may never experience a miracle like this one. And we all have experienced a miracle, big or small, in our lives: a child recovers from a deadly illness, a couple work through their difficulties and remain together, a divorce happens and we survive the consequences, we find just the right job we need, we work successfully through all the changes in our lives.
Giving back from these miracles, and others that we may notice, is to be more aware of what other people go through, and help if we can, or we become kinder to those we live with and more loving to our families.
Some parents, who lost children in school shootings, have turned their sorrow into the work of eliminating guns from our society. The Alliance for Gun Safety and Brady United Against Gun Violence, are two organizations who are doing this work. The miracle of turning sorrow into works of justice is something we can all do, if we are aware that God is always working within and through us.
The miracles in our lives can help us know God is always with us. We just need to be aware and encounter the God within, listen deeply, give thanks, discern next actions, give ourselves away, and grow as disciples. So when God asks, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” We can respond, “Here I Am, send me!”
John Shea. AN EXPERIENCE NAMED SPIRIT. The Thomas More Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1983. Pages 210 – 214.