by Sister Mary Kabat
Sometimes we need to read between the lines to grasp a full understanding of a passage or story. In this Sunday’s Gospel from Luke 5:1-11, I think the full understanding is in something we can’t read or see. It’s in the eyes of Jesus and Simon.
The story at the shore is vivid with images: Jesus teaching as the crowd presses upon him, the sound of water and wood as Simon maneuvers his boat away from the shore giving Jesus a safe space, the fishermen along the shore washing their nets. Then we hear Jesus’ invitation to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon is quick to reply –- we worked all night, we caught nothing –- and maybe some unspoken words better left unsaid. But mid-sentence there is a major shift -– but at your command I will lower the nets. What did Simon see in Jesus’ eyes that caused him to give in: a challenge, a test, an opportunity to prove this carpenter-teacher wrong?
And what a catch they had! Simon was overcome. He was beginning to know who Jesus was and what he was really asking of him. Falling at Jesus’ knees, Simon admits how unworthy he is to be in Jesus’ company. Simon hears in Jesus’ words and sees in his eyes the invitation for a life of “catching men” with Jesus. The journey of following and being formed and transformed by Jesus begins for Simon and the others who leave all else behind.
When you hear of Jesus, read of Jesus, take time to be with and talk to Jesus, may you see the love, the invitation, the mercy, the new beginning being offered to you in the eyes of Jesus.
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"Simon was overcome" [at the incredulous over-abundance his relationship-&-response to JESUS had brought].
This story reminds me that sometimes we are given more than we know what to do with. These are just the kind of times that call for extra careful listening - paying attention to and following - the One who has initiated, shown, and given the abundance, in the first place.
"What are we to do with all of this [new awareness, new understanding, new insight?]" "What are we to make of all of this new knowledge - this new way of seeing and being in relationship with the world God has birthed and blessed us into?" "What are we to do? Where are we to go? How will we learn to manage and steward all the many, diverse, but beautifully whole and holy good things of God?"
These are the questions of a called - and seeking - heart-mind. Peter felt it. He "was overcome" [with deeply felt emotions, including wonder-&-awe of God's Presence]." He didn't know what to make of it all, but he knew he had to follow, be with, and learn from JESUS, the One who had initiated the experience.
I, too, seek to learn from the One who initiates, mentors, and brings to fulfillment the calling of myself and my personhood to himself and his Way of Life. The spirit of the Center for Action and Contemplation, as founded and directed by Franciscan priest, Fr. Richard Rohr, is one such place I seek to learn from and grow with. I wish we had one like it around here. :) https://cac.org/ -- Linda
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and ideas about the readings. Your comments always bring new insights to meditate and pray each week. -- Mary
Please thank Sister Mary Kabat for her wonderful reflection for this week! -- Fr. Bill