“Master, we worked hard all night long and we caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets” (Luke 5: 5):
The story of the call of the first disciples of Jesus is very interesting in so many ways. Can you put yourself in the situation of these men for a moment and sincerely open your heart to how you would feel and react if you were Simon, or James, or John? It was after a long wasted night of exposure to the dangers of the sea, the cold, the waves and all that can be imagined. And they “caught nothing.” In exhaustion and frustration, they decided to call it quit for the night. So they were out washing their nets, about to go home empty-handed. Then “this man”, who they did not know, came around, entered Simon’s boat and asked him to put it out a little from the shore. In your disappointment, exhaustion and frustration over the wastefulness of the night, what would you do to this man? How would you feel about his rather “rude” and “impolite” action?
After Jesus had finished teaching the people, He said to Simon: “Push out into the deep water and pay out your nets for a catch” (Luke 5: 4). The response of Simon is both sincere and submissive. Sincerely he told Jesus of their fruitless ordeal. But then he submitted to the demand of Jesus. Simon did not allow his immediate disappointment to cause him to doubt the power of the man he just listened to. Sometimes we make the mistake of listening to the Lord unfair prejudices. Remember Simon had been there all along listening to all that Jesus was saying to the crowd. He must have been broken by the power of Jesus’ words, trapped by the love that exuded from the words that pierced his ears and captured by the compassion that filled every nuance of the spoken word of Jesus. One has to open not only his ears but his heart to be so wrapped up and captured. And here is a requisite for discipleship – submission to the will of the one who calls. Isaiah responded: “Here I am, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Paul abandoned his mission as a persecutor of the Church to become an apostle. Jesus gives us an excellent example in His words: “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4: 34). A true disciple must be able to abandon himself and his desires to satisfy the will of the One Who calls – even when that Will is against his own will, as the case of Simon here.
Each of us is called to journey with Christ on this mission of faith. Let go and follow; listen and submit; abandon the past and embrace the new life. May His grace be sufficient for us all. Amen.