Browsing Homilies

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is 6:1-2a, 3-8 | Ps 138 | 1 Cor 15:1-11 | Lk 5:1-11

Jesus listened to the Father as the crowed pressed in on him. At the shoreline, Jesus understood the Father’s desire to call Simon to live differently, so Jesus invited him to go out from the shore. Jesus desired to speak to the crowds and capture the attention of Simon. Jesus then tells him, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”

You can hear Simon’s sigh and exhaustion because he knew the subtleties of his business and how to catch fish. Jesus’ words had to have been a weight on him, yet he was willing to give Jesus’ command a try. A miracle happened: the net became even heavier than the initial inconvenience. The net was suddenly full of fish. Their very livelihood overflowed in the boat. They were all astonished by such a miracle.

This passage from Luke reveals Jesus’ authority to bring people to the Father. Jesus’ inner life is revealed in Simon’s anxiety about catching fish and making a living. The miracle here is Simon’s ability to let go of his notion about how life should be and to then listen to Jesus. Simon broke his routine. Simon had to let go of his control, his certainty about how to catch fish. He left a space in his heart for something new to happen, and he was overwhelmed by the miracle and overcome with joy.

We also carry the heavy burdens of our responsibilities as we work to make ends meet and sort through the daily chaos of life. We get caught in the net of daily routine, of expectation for how our plans should play out, of well-worn ruts we have carved for only ourselves that keep us from looking up and seeing outside of our own problems. However, we are all challenged to live in the constant unfolding of grace within our call as Christians. We do not profess our faith once and believe our words will lead us into eternity. There is much work to do on the way to the Father.

Conversion is lifelong. Change (as much as nearly all of us despise it) is food for our souls in Christ Jesus. He calls us to respond to life and all of it complexities with hope and love. The call of Christ to follow, to become fishers of people for God, is to live deeply into the waters of our own baptism. The more we trust, the deeper our life in Christ.

Jesus asks us to dive into the deep end of the pool. Jesus is committed to us; he will not leave us no matter what. What is our level of trust?

Jesus asks to speak out when injustice washes upon our daily shores. He gives us grace when hope drains from the life of our struggling teen. He gives us a lifeline when we encounter people who have lost jobs or who live in the shadows of despair and worry. Our conversion comes every day when we look beyond our selfishness and begin to see the lonely, the depressed, and the discouraged poor as our brothers and sisters.

Jesus invites us, too, not to be afraid.

Luke’s gospel is a voice to lift up the poor, those who struggle with life, those who believe that life cannot change. The presence of Jesus on the shoreline gives us hope. Simon and his companions offer new life to people in all forms of poverty. This is the deep water of faith. This is the hope for each of us. This is our vocation as the baptized. Jesus cares for each of us.

We experience abundance when we live in Christ Jesus. Our worry can diminish our lives. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Mt 6:27). Our fret shrinks our perceptions of life and one another. In these opening weeks of Ordinary Time, we see firsthand how the incarnation of Christ Jesus is made real in human life. Love is made flesh within every human heart when we have the courage to go deeper into the mystery of Jesus’ care for us all.

As Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid.”


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