Thursday, September 29, 2016

Angels--Good and Bad--at Work in the World

In today’s first reading, Revelations 12: 7-12, we are told about the war in heaven, when “Michael with his angels attacked…Satan, who had led all the world astray...” Satan and his angels were defeated and “hurled down to earth…”  Our salvation had been won by the Blood of the unblemished Lamb, the Son of God Incarnate, who gave His life on the cross as a ransom for our sins and rose triumphant over death.  Satan, our accuser, “who accused our brothers [and sisters] day and night before our God, has been brought down. They [Michael and the good angels] have triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word to which they bore witness…” We are warned, though, that “disaster is coming—because the devil has gone down to [us here on earth] in a rage, knowing that he has little time left.”   In a prayer to St. Michael, we pray: O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

We are never left alone! God has given each of us a Guardian Angel. Also, the archangels—Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel--whose feast we celebrate today, continue to work on our behalf. Michael, whose name means “Who is like God,” continues defending and protecting us from Satan’s snares and lies. Raphael, whose name means “God has healed,” continues healing us, as he had healed Tobit’s blindness. Gabriel, whose name means “God is my strength,” continues, as he did with Mary, to strengthen us in giving “birth” to Jesus in our world and embracing the will of God for us as revealed in our everyday life.

May you and I, each day of our lives, grow more and more aware of the angels at work on our behalf, ask for their aid and cooperate with them in being sources of healing, protection, and intensification of a person’s desire to bring forth Jesus, especially in areas where individuals have striven to cast God out of sight, out of mind, and out of hearts!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Genuine Prayer: Its Honesty, Humility and Trust

In today’s first reading, Job 3: 1-3, 11-17, 20-23, Job curses the day that he was born, saying: “Perish the day on which I was born, the night when they said, ‘The child is a boy!’ Why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire? Or why was I not buried away like an untimely  birth, like babes that have never seen the light?  Wherefore did the knees receive me? Or why did I suck at the breasts.”  The Psalmist, in today’s responsorial psalm, prays: “O Lord, my God, by day I cry out; at night I clamor in your presence. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my call for help.”  In the Gospel, Luke 9: 51-56, James and John ask the Lord whether He wants them to call down fire on a village that does not allow them to enter. Jesus’ response to their petition is “No!” And they move on to another village.

Both James and John and Job honestly share their feelings--their frustrations, anger, and grief-- and thoughts with the Lord in prayer. We, too, are encouraged to be honest with the Lord when we pray, to cover up nothing.  We may get a “yes” or a “no.” The important characteristics of genuine prayer (communication with God)  are honesty, humility and trust. Jesus also teaches us this, especially in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when He cries out to the Lord: “Abba, Father! For you everything is possible. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it.'" (Mark 124:36); and again on the cross when He agonizingly prays:   “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me” (Mark 15: 34)?

What characterizes your communication with God?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Angels, Good and Bad, Roaming the Earth

In today’s first reading, Job 1:6-22,  when angels of God present themselves before the Lord, among them is a fallen angel, Satan, who has been “roaming the earth and patrolling it,”  and still does.  Know that Satan is not roaming the earth to protect us but to trip us up to curse the Lord our God, to rebel against God as he and the other bad angels had done.  Satan is jealous of us, as he has lost heaven eternally and does not, in any shape or form, want us to enter eternity as women or men who have accepted God as God and ourselves as creatures subject to our Creator.  God has secured salvation for all who obey Him, are grateful to Him and recognize God as our Savior, our Sustainer, our Comforter and Protector, who remain faithful even when things are rough and tough, even when nature  and the violence with humans turns against us. After all, God did not even spare His Son the worst that is within other human beings who are jealous of each other. The leaders, in Jesus’ time, put Jesus to death out of jealousy.  Jesus, as God Incarnate, did not lose faith in His Father, even as He died upon the cross.

 Satan’s jealousy is something all of us will endure and survive by the grace of God, as Job did! He lost all of his possessions and even his children, who, when the building in which they dwelt collapsed upon them in a vicious storm, died.  His response:

 “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I go back again.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

May our faith, like Job’s, never falter, even in the worst of times. God is at our side. God trusts us, knowing the strength of our faith, and, as with Jesus, endures what we endure, as Jesus was not alone on that cross. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, though three divine persons, are one God! In God, you and I live and move and have our being. So, we, too, are never alone in the sufferings we endure or will endure!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Paying Attention

In both of today’s reading, Ecclesiastes 11: 9-12 and the Gospel Luke 9: 43b-45, we are faced with realities that are difficult to embrace: that youth will give way to old age or that difficult times are on the horizon, as was the case with Jesus.  The time will come, Ecclesiastes says to the young, and to all of us, that the time will come when “the sun will be darkened, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, while the clouds return after the rain.”  Time also will arrive when “strong men [and women] are bent, and the grinders are idle because they are few, and they who look through the windows grow blind.”   Yes, Ecclesiastes reminds us, “the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the life breath returns to God who gave it.” In the Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples—that is us: “Pay attention…The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”

It is very difficult to face the kind of realities to which both the OT and the NT prophets ask us to pay attention.  In the Gospel, the disciples do not understand what Jesus is talking about and, out of fear of hearing Jesus repeat the message, I suspect, they do not ask him any questions. Is that not how we, too, sometimes act in the face of impending disaster or challenging difficulties. I have heard myself say “I don’t want to know,” when someone is trying to open my eyes to troubling issues.  I may even be as blunt and arrogant as to proclaim “It is not true,” when I know it is.

Help us, Jesus, listen to the messages you send us in the Scriptures, in homilies, in nature itself, from friends and family members and, yes, even from persons we perceive as enemies or persons of whom we think little (and forgive us for those kinds of attitudes).

Friday, September 23, 2016

For All Things There is a Season

In today’s first reading, Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11, we are reminded that  there “is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every  thing under the heavens”: birth and death, dying and rising, peace and war, tearing down and rising up, building and destroying what was built, planting and reaping what was planted, weeping and laughing, killing and healing, rending and sewing, keeping and throwing away, speaking and being silent, embracing and refraining from embracing, seeking and losing, loving and hating. “Oh, my goodness”, we might exclaim. 

What the author of this passage is proclaiming is that nothing in this world last forever!  God alone is eternal! God alone is unchangeable! What is here today may be gone tomorrow! I may be enjoying success today but loss tomorrow. I may be enjoying peace now but be in turmoil this afternoon or vice versa: I may be struggling at this moment and rejoicing by noon today.  I may be sick this month and recover next month. I may be dying today and living forever in eternity tomorrow! I may have spent years building a fortune and see it dissipate in the future. The empire our forefathers and foremothers secured over time or which one administration built during its term may be collapsed by our successors.
The author of this Ecclesiastes passage states: “I have considered the task that God has appointed for [His] sons [and daughters] to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without [our] ever discovering, from the beginning to end, the work which God has done.”  In short,  as stated above, God alone is forever; God alone is unchangeable. Everything else is temporal and changeable.

"Blessed be the Lord, our Rock," we pray in today's responsorial psalm. To what "rock" am I clinging?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Ultimate Reason We Have Been Put on Earth

In today’s first reading, Ecclesiastes 1: 2-11, Qoheleth reminds us that “[a]ll things are vanity! What profit has [a person] from all the labor which [one] toils at under the sun? One generation passes and another comes….There is no remembrance of [the people] of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.”  So what is life all about? And how vain is it for those who believe they are here on earth to make a name for themselves, to build “empires” with their pictures and names plastered all over them? Yet, we know that people spend a lifetime pursuing such honors and accolades. We also know that some peoples’ names are remembered for better or for worse: the “Herods,” the “Hitlers”, the “Napoleons,” the “Caesars,” the “Bushes,” the “Clintons,” the “Carters,” the “Obamas,” the “Mitchels,” the “Trumps,”  the “Dianas,” the “Bing Crosbys,” the “Martin Luther Kings,” of this world  and so on.  However, the majority of peoples will pass through this world without being remembered except by their immediate family and loved ones.  Some of these people will be remembered for the evil they promoted and others for the good they accomplished and the justice they pursued. For what and by whom will you and I be remembered?

“Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity” except the Way, the Truth, and the Life; except the faith journey of Ruth and Esther, Naomi and Judith,  Mary, Elizabeth and the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas, Aquila and Priscilla and so many other women and men who gave, and give,  their lives to proclaim the Kingdom and carry on the mission of Christ given to them and all of us by our Creator God. Yes, we all have one purpose given to us by the Lord God before we were born naturally through our biological births and spiritually in baptism and confirmation: to build the Kingdom of love, mercy and justice for all; to be reconcilers with God and one another.  Like Jesus, we are to live in this world as a passing reality. Like Jesus, we are to die and rise to new life here and in eternity, where, like Jesus, we will be glorified through the blood of Christ by the One who paid our ransom with His life. All else is vanity!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jesus' Notices: Are We Ready?

Today is the feast of St. Matthew, an apostle and evangelist and also a former tax collector.  Tax collectors, in Jesus’ time, were despised and among the lowest of the low. They collected taxes for the Romans who occupied their land and took some of the proceeds for themselves. They might be likened today to those in public office or public service who are not about serving their constituents or being cooperative in creating policies that benefit the common good but are about lining their pockets and exploiting others for their personal gain.  Persons of this nature are, in the words of Scripture, building “their houses” on sand. When the winds and rains come, their “houses” will collapse.  They are the unwise stewards cheating their master and who, when the Son of Man comes in the dead of “night,”   are likely to be found wanting.

What about Matthew, then? The Gospel tells us, that, as Jesus passed by Matthew’s custom post, Jesus noticed him and said: “Follow me.”  Matthew’s heart was open to the Lord. Most likely he had heard of Him and had been pondering His teachings privately. He was ready and Jesus knew it. “Follow Me,” Jesus says. Matthew left the custom post and followed the Lord. Not only did he open his heart to Jesus, he also opened his home as well.  Jesus accepted Matthew’s openness and had a meal with Him and fellow tax collectors, persons in need of and open to conversion.

Are you and I ready? Are we waiting? Will we leave our “custom post,” that activity that is unjust, that is exploitative of others or by which we use another for our personal advantage? Are we ready to change our lives, to let go of that which shuts Jesus out of our lives? Are we ready to follow Jesus and become missionary disciples? Are we ready to carry out the purpose for which God created us, that is to become servants of others, messengers of His love and mercy and forgiveness, as Matthew did? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Being a Stream in the Hand of the Lord

The first verse of today’s reading, Proverbs 22: 1-6, 10-13, reads: “Like a stream is the king’s heart in the hand of the Lord; wherever it pleases him, he directs it.”  Obedience! Surrender Trust! In today’s Gospel, Luke 8: 19-21, Jesus speaks of these virtues by saying:  “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” What a tribute to His Mother, who was obedience to the Word of God and acted upon it.  She allowed God to direct her life however it pleased Him to do so!  In every encounter with God, Mary pondered God’s messages and actions!

What about you and me? Does the Solomon’s wisdom apply to us? Are we like “a stream…in the hand of the Lord” in that “wherever it pleases” God, God directs us? Are you, am I even aware of God’s directions in our lives  each day? Do you, do  I take time at the end of the day to reflect upon ways in which you/I allowed or resisted the directions of the Holy Spirit throughout the day?  Would Jesus say of you/me: “My mother and my brothers [and sisters] are those who hear the word of God and act on it”?

Monday, September 19, 2016

God's Instructions through Today's Scripture Readings

What, Lord, is your message to me in today’s readings, Proverbs 3: 27-34 and Luke 8: 16-18?

Dorothy Ann (insert your name), live a life of truth, justice, love and forgiveness. My light will then shine through you, as Jesus says in the Gospel.  Keep your focus on me, not on those who are plotting evil against others, who slander others in their quest for high positions, who lord it over others in the hopes of securing control of a situation that is beyond them.

Seek Me, above all else. Put your house in order and do not try to order the houses of others. That is theirs to do. 

Take the beam out of your eye and do not waste energy trying to remove a splinter in the eyes of another.  That is not the reason I created you. I am God, not you. If you were a parent, it would be your responsibility to remove a splinter from the eyes of your children, while simultaneously removing the beam out of your own eye, but you are not a parent! I am your Parent! You are my child!

You will maintain your peace if you do that which is highlighted in today’s first reading, Proverbs 3: 27-34:
               “Refuse no one  [on one, Dorothy Ann—insert your name--no one]
                the good on which he [or she] has a claim
                when it is in your power to do it for [that person].
                Say not to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again,
                tomorrow I will give,’ when you can give at once.

   “Plot no evil against your neighbor,
                against one who lives at peace with you.
                Quarrel not with [a person] without cause,
                with one who has done you no harm….”

Lord, I trust that you will give me the grace to do these things one day at a time in your name.  When I fail, I ask for your forgiveness and the humility to start over again.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mary: Mother of Sorrows and a Mother Who Understands Our Sorrows

Today, we Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, have been given the privilege of celebrating the Feast of the Sorrowful Mother on this Sunday. I would like to share with you brief reflections on the seven sorrows of Mary.

The First Sorrow: The Prophesy of Simeon--Simeon prophesies that Jesus will be the cause of the rise and fall of many in Israel and then tells Mary that her own heart will be pierced with sorrow.  Imagine being a young parent. You present your child for baptism and are told that this child is going to cause you a lot of pain and suffering. That is all that is said! Mary ponders these words in her heart and she knows the pain of parents whose children’s behaviors cause them intense sorrow.
The Second Sorrow:  The Flight into Egypt--Shortly after Jesus is born, Herod seeks to kill him. Joseph is warned in a dream to take Mary and the child and flee into the night to escape Herod’s murderous rage against their son Jesus. Think of the many parents who fear for their children’s safety and flee their country and  become refugees in order to protect their children from harm’s way.  Mary’s know their pain!
The Third Sorrow: The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple--Mary knows the sorrow of parents who have lost their child to drugs, to the sex slave, to human trafficking and other violent movements in our world. She knows the pain of parents who have lost communication with their child/children, whose children have simply gone their own direction without telling them their whereabouts.
The Fourth Sorrow: Meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary, carrying the beam of wood upon which He will be crucified, so weak from the loss of blood in the scourging that He can hardly move forward and is beaten if He falls--Mary knows the pain of a parent seeing a child on his/her deathbed or a child watching his/her parent die or a friend die. Mary knows the pain of a parent seeing his/her child bullied and unable to stop the violence. Mary’s heart bleeds and grieves with anyone in such positions.
The Fifth Sorrow: Mary Standing beneath the cross watching her Son die--Mary supports Jesus in His most hideous of sufferings. She does not abandon Him in this hour of dire need.  Mary knows the pain of parents/children or friend, husbands/wives who, no matter what, stand by, stay with, and give support to a loved one, whose suffering one is unable to lessen or alleviate. She knows the pain of those who risk death or another person’s scorn by staying with another abandoned to death, condemned unjustly.
The Sixth Sorrow: Mary receives the dead body of her Son--Mary knows the pain of parents, husband/wives, children who are given the dead body of their loved one returned from war, found beaten to death on the side of the road or some ally in our city streets.
The Seventh Sorrow: Mary at the burial of her Son: Mary knows your pain when you have to bury a child, a parent, a friend, a husband/wife, especially when such a person was in the prime of his/her life and ministry; when that person seems to have died prematurely, unnecessarily, humanly speaking.


Monday, September 12, 2016

O, the Greatness, the Generosity, the Mercy and the Love of our God

In today’s first reading, 1 Cor 11¨17-26, 33, St. Paul reminds us that what he received from the Lord Jesus he hands on to us, namely, “that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my Body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This is the cup of the new covenant in my Blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”

At every Eucharist, we remember what God has done for us on Calvary. We give thanks through Jesus Christ and we take and eat in obedience to His teaching that “the bread that  I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world….Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person.”

At every Mass the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine into Jesus through the consecrated hands of the priest.  “It is the Lord,” each of us at Mass can say as we ponder the act of consecration and what happens on the altar when the words of Consecration are said. At that moment, God comes down from heaven to visit us in person, to share the fullness of His life with us and the gift of reconciliation with our God. In the Eucharist, God transforms us, purifies us, recreates us into the persons God designed us to be in His creation of us and in His molding of us in our mother’s womb! O, what a gift is Eucharist! O, what a gift is the Mass! O, the greatness and the generosity and the mercy and the love of our God!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Cup of Blessing

In today's first reading, 1 Cor 10: 14-22,, Paul asks us: "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of
Christ? Because the loaf of bread," Paul states, "is one, we, though many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one loaf."

The bread that we break at a Catholic Liturgy is Jesus' body broken for us on the cross.  The blood that we drink is Jesus' Blood poured out for us on Calvary.  In our participation in the Eucharist, Jesus becomes one with each of us and we become one with one another: one Body of Christ, one Body in Christ. It is the Risen Lord who, in the Eucharist,  visits us, hidden in the consecrated bread and wine. The bread and the wine before consecration is not bread and wine after the consecration. It is the Risen Christ who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit--one God, three divine persons; one God, undivided unity and Trinity.  As Jesus, the Father and the Spirit are one with each other, so, too we are to become one with others.  We are to live with others as Jesus lives with and in the Father and the Spirit, giving, loving, creating the good in all, for all and through all in God's name and reconciling all to His Father through His death and resurrection.

In what ways do I strive for unity with those with whom I live and work and pray? In what ways to I give, love, and create the good in all, for all and through all in God's name? And in what ways am I divisive?  And, if divisive, what do I do to bring about reconciliation?

Friday, September 9, 2016


In today’s first reading, I Cor 9: 16-19, 22b-27, Paul talks about how athletes enter training programs in order to win a perishable crown.  Then he asks us what we are willing to do to win an imperishable one.  He says: “Run so as to win….do not run aimlessly; …do not fight as if…[you were] shadowboxing. No drive …[your] body and train it, for  fear that…[you]…should be disqualified.”  As I reflected upon this passage, I asked myself the following questions:   ” In what disciplines are you engaged  to qualify for an imperishable prize?   Of what does your training program, Dorothy Ann, consist? What blocks you from following a training program, in the first place?”  Then I turned to Jesus and asked Him  to answer these questions for me,  as I could easily be a blind guide guiding myself. What transpired in my prayer was the following:

Dorothy Ann, your training program has to consist of trusting Me, depending on Me, keeping your focus on Me, and turning to Me when you fail the course.

Your training program is a bogus program if your focus is on you and your efforts. An authentic training program consist of trusting Me, turning to Me, depending on Me, and coming back to Me. When you have become aware of having abandoned the course, simply turn back to Me and say: Jesus, I trust You.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Birthday of Mary, the Mother of the Son of God

Today we celebrate the birth of Mary, the Mother of the Son of God, who assumed human nature through Mary in order to bring about our redemption, that is to save us from the power of Satan, who alluringly tricked Adam and Eve into disobedience and to this very day prowls throughout the world deceiving people into choosing their will above God’s will.  Just as Adam and Eve did not pass the test of free will neither do you and I. Without grace, we fall into sin over and over and over again! Our salvation? Jesus Christ born of Mary.

Mary was born free of original sin.  She, alone of all human beings other than the Incarnate Son of God, never fell into the pit Satan sets for each one of us: the pit of choosing our own wills over the will of our Creator. Mary, perfectly, followed the will of God in every circumstance of her life, saying “yes” to God over and over again. Her obedience to the will of God is exemplified so clearly for us in the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to communicate God’s will to her. Gabriel greets her as one who has found favor with God and tells her that she has been chosen “’to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob forever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel: ‘But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow.’ And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God…[Y]our cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ Mary said, ‘You see before you the Lord’s servant, let it happen to me as you have said’”  (Luke 1: 312-38). 

Mary was 14 or 15 when the angel announced that she would be impregnated through the power of the Holy Spirit and conceive a son. Mary was betrothed to Joseph and not yet married. Conceiving out of wedlock, in her culture, meant that she faced the possibility of being stoned to death. She still said “yes” to God’s will for her.

When we are confronted with the possibility of very unpleasant consequences to following the path God asks us to traverse, what is our response?  Is our faith and trust in God as strong as Mary’s?  If not, let us call upon Mary to secure for us the graces we need to say “yes” to God in any circumstance, willing to pay whatever price is demanded of us!  God is there for us as truly as God was there for Mary and worked everything out for her even to the resurrection of her Son on Easter morn, rising  seeing her Son  triumphantly over death in accord with the Father’s will.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Paul's Message: "Time is Running Out"

In today’s first reading, 1 Cor 7: 25-31, Paul, at the time, believed that the second coming of Jesus was  about to occur so he advised people to not to engage in pursuing new interests, not to seek marriage or “a separation from marriage.” “Time is running out,” he says to the disciples of the Lord.  What would you and I do if we believed God was coming to escort us into the glories of eternity today, tonight, next week or month or year? If you and I faced the poverty of having very little time left here on earth, what would we do? 

In today’s Gospel, Luke 6: 20-26, Jesus says: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hunger, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh….” Am I, I ask myself, hungering for the Kingdom of God? Am I hungering for justice and peace, love and understanding, mercy and goodness to radiate from my being today as I interact with others?  Am I thirsting for what the Lord is thirsting and for what He thirsted as He hung on the cross on Good Friday and, today, as He hangs on the crosses of other people’s pain: the pain of immigrants fleeing their homeland seeking safety and a better life for their children, the pain of those who are victims of human trafficking, drug trafficking and slave labor, the pain of parents watching their child starve to death for physical and/or spiritual nourishment, the pain of parents contemplating an abortion or reeling from the guilt of having killed the child in their womb because they believed they did not have another choice, the pain of a family member watching the agony of an elderly parent suffering from  Alzheimer’s or watching a child suffering from an addiction that is sapping them of their former, happy, productive, loving self?

“Time is running out,” Paul says. What will I do to make a difference today, to be Christ in today’s world, whether is it the last day of my life or the beginning of my life for the next 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 70 years?  The choice is mine to make! May I choose wisely!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Put out into Deep Water...for a Catch"

In today’s Gospel, Luke 5: 1-11, Jesus is teaching a crowd of people. The crowd is pressing upon him,listening, Luke tells us, “to the word of God”—truly to the Word of God made flesh.  Jesus, feeling about to be crushed, spots Simon’s fishing boat a ways off shore—the fishermen were washing their nets—so Jesus walks out to the boat, gets into it and pushes out a bit further to secure some space for Himself. When he finishes teaching, he says to Simon: “Put out into the deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.”  Simon does so, even though he and his partners have been fishing all night, are worn out, so to speak, know that there are no fish in the area yet does what Jesus asks of them: Pays out into the deep and, to their amazement, have an overwhelming catch. “Who is this man,” Peter and his partners must have wondered.   I can imagine Peter saying to himself: “We’ve fished all night and caught nothing.He says: ‘Go out into the deep and you will find fish.'”  Peter may have said to himself initially:  “What? He’s not a professional fisherman! I am.”  Then says: “Okay, Lord, We will go out into the deep, as you have asked of us.”

Following this large catch of fish, Peter falls on his knees and says to Jesus: “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” That does not faze Jesus. He  says to Simon and his partners, James and John: “’Do not be afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching.’  Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.”

There are several lessons in this reading: 1) the importance of setting boundaries, creating space for
ourselves, as Jesus did. Do you and I recognize when people are “crushing” us and we need to create
space for ourselves? 2) that Jesus is our Master, knowing what we need to do to succeed at what we are doing? Do we listen to His voice, His instructions, as Simon did, even when they make no sense to us? 3) being honest about our situation, especially, naming our failures, identifying out frustrations and sharing those with the Lord, as Simon had done when he told Jesus that they “have worked hard all night long and caught nothing,”  4) the importance of falling on our knees before Jesus and recognizing our sinfulness. Do we recognizing our sinfulness and the absolute holiness of our God? 5) Hearing Jesus say to us: ‘Be not afraid; from now on it is people you will be catching'" for God's Kingdom. For what am I "fishing"and 6) leaving everything to follow Jesus’  instructions when the things we need to leave behind would block us from knowing Jesus, doing the will of our God through Christ Jesus and bringing other people into God’s Kingdom of love and mercy, generous service and increased love,  repentance and forgiveness?