RCL Year C Epiphany 5
Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Saint Luke 5:1-11
Like a fish waiting to be caught, just beneath the surface of this Gospel lies a very important truth, a truth I hope you accept, and I hope you will allow to change your life.
Let me approach that truth very gingerly. If you bake and sell Welsh cookies, isn’t it better to sell two hundred dozen rather than one hundred dozen? If you fish for a living, isn’t it better to catch and to sell two boat-loads rather than one boat-load? And here’s the one where our lives may be wanting and may need amending. If you are an Episcopal Church, isn’t it better for your parish to grow in people and giving than to go in the other direction?
That simple truth, that it is better to grow than not to grow, that it is better to catch more rather than fewer, lies behind the Gospel today. The power of the story lies with that simple truth, that simple assumption, which Jesus uses to give a new vocation to Simon Peter, James, and John. Their growing up involves catching people rather than fish, but the same truth applies: it is better to catch more rather than fewer.
It really is that simple. The task for us modern-day Christians is what it was two thousand years ago: to listen to the Lord, to follow him, and to begin catching people.
And this will always mean trying things we have tried before. And trying things we have never done before. Peter knew how to fish. He really knew how to fish. Soon, however, he is off healing people, teaching people, catching people for Jesus, and writing scripture!
Like Peter, not one of us thinks he or she is an evangelist. Let alone that any one of us might heal people or write scripture.
But one day, a letter you write to someone may bring that someone closer to God in Christ. That is scripture.
One day you will reach out to care for someone, and that person will be healed.
One day you will say something that will cause someone else to say, “You know, I never thought of things that way before,” and you will have become a teacher.
Jesus does not call us because we are worthy, or because we are qualified for the jobs he calls us to do. We are worthy and can do everything he did and more for this simple reason: he calls us.
Everything and more that good-hearted people want for Good Shepherd will be given to us. Our boats will be filled with fish, our pews with people, our Sunday School with children if only we will take the time to listen to the Lord, to follow him, and to begin catching people.
From now on we will be catching people for Jesus so they too can know what it feels like to be made worthy to stand before God. If Peter could do it, so can we.