Lectio Divina: Luke 5:1-11
1) Opening prayer
every good thing comes from You.
Fill our hearts with love for You,
increase our faith,
and by your constant care
protect the good You have given us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading - Luke 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.
• In today’s Gospel we have the call of Jesus to Peter. The Gospel of Mark places the call of the first disciples after the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus (Mk 1:16-20). Luke places it after the fame of Jesus was already extended across the whole region (Lk 4:14). Jesus had cured many people (Lk 4:40) and had preached in the synagogues of all Judea (Lk 4:44). The people looked for Him and the crowds pushed Him on all sides in order to hear the Word of God (Lk 5:1). Luke makes the call easier to understand. In the first place, Peter can listen to Jesus’ words to the people, and then he is a witness to the miraculous catch of fish. It is only after this double surprising experience that he understands the call of Jesus. Peter responds. He abandons everything and becomes a “fisher of men.”
• Luke 5:1-3: Jesus teaches from the boat. People look for Jesus in order to listen to the Word of God. Many people get together around Jesus, making a throng around Him. Jesus seeks help from Simon Peter and from some of his companions who had just returned from fishing. He goes into the boat with them and responds to the expectation of the people, communicating the Word of God to them. Sitting down, Jesus takes the attitude of a Teacher and speaks from a fisherman’s boat. The novelty consists in the fact that He teaches, not only in the synagogue for a choice public but in any place, where there are people who wish to listen, even on the seashore.
• Luke 5:4-5: “But if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When He had finished speaking, Jesus addresses Himself to Simon and encourages him to fish again. In Simon’s response there is frustration, fatigue and discouragement: “Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing!” But trustful in Jesus’ word, they throw in the nets again and continue the struggle. The word of Jesus has greater force for them than the experience of frustration of that night!
• Luke 5: 6-7: The result is surprising. The catch is so abundant that the nets are about to tear and the boat begins to sink. Simon needs the help of John and James, who are in the other boat. Nobody is complete in himself, alone. One community has to help the other. The conflict among the communities, both at the time of Luke as well as today, should be overcome in order to attain a common objective, which is the mission. The experience of the force of the transformative word of Jesus is the axis around which the differences are embraced and overcome.
• Luke 5:8-11: “Be fishers of men.” The experience of the closeness of God in Jesus makes Peter understand who he is: “Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man!” Before God we are all sinners. Peter and his companions are afraid and, at the same time, they feel attracted to Jesus. Jesus drives away fear: “Do not be afraid!” He calls Peter and commits him to the mission, ordering him to be a fisher of men. Peter experiences, quite concretely, that the word of Jesus is like the word of God. It is capable of bringing about what it affirms. In Jesus those rough and tough laborers will have an experience of power, of courage, of trust. And so then, “they will abandon everything and follow Jesus!” Up until now it was only Jesus who announced the Good News of the Kingdom. Now other people will be called and involved in the mission. This way in which Jesus works, in a team, is also Good News for the people.
• The episode of the catch of fish along the lake indicates the attraction and the force of the Word of Jesus. He attracts people (Lk 5:1). He urges Peter to offer his boat to Jesus to be able to speak (Lk 5:3). The word of Jesus is so strong that it overcomes the resistance in Peter. It convinces him to cast the nets into the sea again and there is the miraculous catch (Lk 5:4-6). It overcomes in him the urge to leave Jesus and attracts him to become a “fisher of men” (Lk 5, 10). This is the way the Word of God acts in us, even now!
4) Personal questions
• Where and how does the miraculous catch of fish take place today?
• And they leaving everything followed Jesus. What do I have to leave in order to follow Jesus?
• In joining with other communities to, to overcome conflict between communities, how do we work together when both communities have the same stated mission, but have competing or conflicting ways to attain it?
5) Concluding Prayer
Who shall go up to the mountain of Yahweh?
Who shall take a stand in His holy place?
The one with clean of hands and a pure heart,
who does not swear an oath in order to deceive. (Ps 24:3-4)