It’s interesting, how in every Gospel passage, after reading
it over a number of times, some phrase or statement will catch your attention.
Another way of observing this: amazing how God can touch each heart and
mind with words that seem to be meant just for you.
Take today’s passage. You read the story about Peter and his companions
on a fishing expedition. Jesus asks to use his boat for a podium so
he can speak to the large crowd. After delivering his message, he
observes that there are no fish in the boat. So he tells Peter to
push out and lower his nets for a catch.
Still dejected from the lack of results the night before and although it
looks hopeless, Peter obliges. And lo and behold, their nets are all
but tearing as they bring up the abundance of fish.
And what is Peter’s reaction? “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful
man.” Given all the circumstances, there’s one sincere and honest
confession! I wondered if that confession impacted Peter’s future
life? To my knowledge it’s one of the few or only confessions any
of the other apostles ever made. James and John never admitted guilt
for their selfish ploy for prominence. Simon never asked to be forgiven
for his role in the crimes of the Zealot Party. Neither did Nathaniel
make amends for his sarcastic remark: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
What intrigued me was whether and how Peter’s honest confession may have
affected his personality. Could the humility, sincerity, honesty,
openness to God’s grace and resolve in that confession have disposed him
and conditioned him in a way that he became a prime candidate for all kinds
of ministries in the Kingdom? Might this have been the occasion that
convinced Jesus to call Peter to be a fisher of men and maybe even the rock
on which he would build his Church? It’s possible.
We oftentimes feel no need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and most
often rightly so. But could neglecting the Sacrament result in our not
being properly disposed and thereby missing an opportunity for the Lord choosing
us for some special work in his Kingdom? It’s possible.