1 Corinthians 3:18-23
Psalm 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6
Peter, Andrew, James and John have encountered Jesus several times before the call to leave everything and follow him. It was John the Baptist who first pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God to Andrew and John. That same day, Andrew brought his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus. A second encounter took place in Simon’s house, when Jesus cured his mother-in-law.
Today, Jesus teaches the crowds on the shore from Simon’s fishing boat. His voice carried easily over the water. We are not told what he said, but his message so far has been one of good news of the Kingdom of God: he is God’s Anointed One and comes to save.
When Jesus finishes teaching the crowds, he turns to Peter and tells him to “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch. Peter must be very tired. He worked all night and listened to Jesus preach all morning. It is hot as it is mid-morning or midday and it is not the right time to fish. At the same time, Peter’s heart is open to God’s Word: “At your command I will lower the nets”. Peter doesn’t realize it, but the next time he lowers the nets, it will not be to bring fish into the boat, but to bring men and women into the Kingdom of God.
The miraculous catch of fish moves Peter to faith but also to conversion. He recognizes Jesus’ divine power calling him “Lord” instead of “Master”. Like Isaiah, he recognizes his sinfulness before God’s presence. Isaiah said: “I am a man of unclean lips”. Peter said: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”. God responds to Isaiah by purifying his lips and commissioning him to preach to the people of Israel. Jesus responds to Peter by giving him courage and commissioning him to gather men and women into the Kingdom of God. In fact, three years later, on the day of Pentecost, Peter and the other Apostles will bring some three thousand into the Church of God.
Peter became a fool in the eyes of the world. He left the security of his boat and his fishing business. He left everything, put his hand to the plow and didn’t look back. He strove to follow Christ. Yes, he would fall. He try to keep Jesus from going to Jerusalem, he would deny Jesus three times. Not knowing what else to do after the Resurrection, he would fish once again in the Sea of Galilee. When he would fall, he would set his eyes once again on Jesus, weep on account of his sins, and set out once again into the deep.
Peter was not wise in the eyes of the world, but was so in the eyes of God. He entrusted himself to Jesus Christ and, with Christ, ascended the mountain of the Lord. Jesus is the one who can ascend the mountain and stand in the holy place because his hands are sinless and his heart is clean and he desires only the things of heaven. Only when we wash ourselves in the blood of Christ, can we also ascend. Peter did this not only through his martyrdom in Rome, but also in the daily martyrdom of serving the people of God. For this, he received a blessing from the Lord, and a reward from Jesus his Savior.
–Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at [email protected].