MORE THAN FULL NETS

Thursday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time         

            It is said that what makes a Christian a true Christian is the inability to quit hoping. A new gift from God is at work on our behalf, at all times, in all circumstances. This is the good news for us today from the gospel reading. It is a word of great encouragement and hope.

            Jesus, in today’s gospel story, came upon three defeated men. They had fished all night and had only an empty boat to show for their efforts. However, the flow of their story significantly changed when Jesus entered the scene and told them, “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Humbly accepting the help of Jesus and following his instruction, Simon and his companions were able to catch a great number of fish. They had to realize and admit first their own limitations, turn to the Lord, and trust in his power.

            We have our own “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days” – moments when we can say to the Lord, like Simon said, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing.” Our working hard does produce the results we expect: be it in terms of gaining personal growth and improvement, or deepening a friendship or fixing a broken relationship, or achieving career development or advancement, or providing financial security for our family, or looking for a solution to a problem. We experience failures in different aspects of our life. “We have worked hard all night and have caught nothing.” The words of a person who has already made the effort and failed. Why should we want to put ourselves in the position of failing again? How useless this all seems.

            Winston Churchill once said, “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” The failures we experience do not have to be endings. They can be the avenue to experience God’s grace more widely and more deeply.

            “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Expect God to come… but do not expect him only in certain way. At any moment he may break. Always be in a state of expectancy or waiting, and leave room for God to come as he wishes.

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