September 7, 2017
by Diane Jorgensen
Creighton University's School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 434

Colossians 1:9-14
Psalm 98:2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6
Luke 5:1-11

Praying Ordinary Time

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Today's gospel recalls the circumstances of Peter's call to follow Jesus, although at that time he was still called "Simon." Simon has just finished a long, hard day of fishing with nothing to show for it. Jesus climbs into his boat and asks him to put out a bit from shore so he can better teach the crowd that has gathered. When finished, Jesus then tells Simon to lower his nets for a catch. Skeptical, Simon does as he is asked and is astounded at the results - two boats filled with fish! "When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Simon Peter and his friends are amazed and humbled by this catch, and then Jesus invites them to follow him, and they "left everything and followed him."

I reflect on how this pattern of listening for God’s voice plays out for me and maybe it fits for you. I start my day with a long list of good things I need to accomplish (Peter only had one thing – fishing – but it was still an all-day job.) Like Peter, I am tired at the end of the day, a justified tired because I have “accomplished” so much and “done so much for others” at my workplace, home or neighborhood.  OR, I start my day immersed in God’s word - through scripture, hymns and songs, creation - and am humbled, experiencing my complete dependence on God for every gift, talent, blessing, desire and dream. When I connect with our Creator God first, I hear God's voice as clearly as Simon heard Jesus'. Thankfully, while I may be challenged at times, it's nothing as difficult as loading a boat full of fish.  It's usually something quite simple, like "trust me," or "let it go - forgive them," or "rest in me." I still get quite a bit done during the day and sometimes I’m still tired, but I am different – more calm, more grateful, more alert and attentive – I more easily notice how God is working in my life and the lives of others.

Was the catch of fish a “miracle?” Maybe. Perhaps miraculous in this way: although teaching and absorbed in God's love, Jesus remained alert and attentive to the needs and world around him… and noticed a school of fish approaching. A contemplative in action?

Being a fisherman, whether of fish or people, has a lot to do with being alert and attentive, being in the right place at the right time, immersed in God’s word and acting on God’s voice.

And if the boat is full, it’s God’s work, not ours.

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