Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

This Week's Gospel

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Luke 5. 1-11

“Leave me, Lord …”

The people gathered round Jesus, impressed by his teaching about the kingdom, and eager to hear more, but they pressed in on him to such an extent that he was unable to address the whole crowd. The weary fishermen who had worked throughout the night without a catch were less attentive – that is until Jesus sought their help by asking to use their boat as a sort of pulpit. When he had finished speaking he commanded them to put out into deep water and to let out their nets once more. This was met with Simon’s initial doubt – “we have caught nothing all night” – turning into trusting submission – “but, if you say so …” And that trust was more than amply rewarded, with a miraculous catch of fish.

Far from requesting Jesus to stay around to enhance his business prospects, Simon asks to be left alone: “leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”. He was unfit for the company of Jesus. At least, so thought Simon; but Jesus had other thoughts: if together we can make a catch of fish beyond your dreams, Simon, then together we can also make a catch of a very different kind – “from now on it is people you will catch”. In effect Jesus is saying ‘You may consider yourself unsuited to be involved in the work of God’s kingdom, but with me you will achieve more than you have ever dared to dream.’

Like Simon Peter, many people are burdened with a sense of guilt, failure and weakness, to the point of wanting simply to be left alone, considering themselves not suited to the work of God’s kingdom. But Jesus has other thoughts. He is the One who constantly challenges us, the maker of new beginnings for us. He does not focus on past failures, but on future potential. He does not leave us isolated in our weakness, but invites us into partnership, holding out the same promise to us – with me you can do more than you have ever dared to dream.