Daily Office Readings for Thursday of the 3rd Week of Easter: Year 1
“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5: 8 to 11)
So we all will react the same way in the presence of the might of God almighty. Peter obeyed Jesus and it paid off in huge dividends for God. The miracle of Jesus paid off so much in fact that it shamed Peter and he gave himself up in full confession as a sinner to the presence of God in Christ Jesus.
So too it is with us today. As we pray for God to reorient our lives to the Gospel, The Gospel holds a special place in the liturgy of the Episcopal Church. It is the last biblical reading in our opening Eucharist, normally after a hymn, and is walked out into the midst of the congregation and is supposed to be read in the language of the majority of the people listening, and read by an ordained person, most appropriately by a deacon. The whole congregation turns to face the Gospel book and reader – they reorient themselves towards the Gospel. This simple turning towards the Gospel signifies our lives and direction being changed and redirected towards the Jesus path of love. It can cause us to fall on our spiritual knees.
Like the experience that Peter had, our own reorientation towards the Gospel will bring with us those close to us, our partners, as well as many in our communities. It will amaze us. Our Lord Jesus says, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ This is God’s plan for our salvation. There is no plan A, B, or C; there is only plan J: Jesus.
Jesus the carpenter taught fishermen to fish. Jesus the carpenter taught the Pharisees to be “Born again of the Spirit. Jesus the Carpenter healed far more people than all their doctors combined. Perhaps this Jesus was more than a carpenter. We can’t judge people by “what” we see on the surface. People are not “What’s;” people are “Who’s.” Our life of love is not about what we are; carpenter, welder, doctor, truck driver, police person, store clerk, black, white, rich, poor, gay or straight. Following our Lord Jesus is not “what” we are; it is “who” we are and “whose” we are. We are catchers of people, reoriented towards the Gospel of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us live to love, more than we just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John