How many of us pride ourselves on being experts in life? How many of us pride ourselves in knowing how to life, what to do, where to go, how to make things work?
Our society is filled with specialist and experts.
I love to watch a experts at work.
When we were adding on to the church, i would often sit and watch the masonry guys put the stone on the church. I would watch them with the hammer and chisel and slowly piece the stone together like a giant puzzle.
I love to watch expert carpenters work as well. Recently we renovated the rectory. The guys were tedious in their labor. The way they took down walls with such care with our leaving a bit of dust and trash behind was impressive. If it was left to me, I would have just used a sledge hammer.
Experts are a marvel. Yet sometimes it can be a problem.
How often does our expertise interfere with God's plan unfolding in our life?
SOmetimes the pursuit of perfection and the sense of knowing it all can be problematic.
The gospel for today pokes at that reality, which makes it instrumental for understanding the spiritual life and the development of faith as we journey through life.
First step: JEsus gets into Peter's boat uninvited. Jesus invades Peter's space and time. Unsolicited God enter in to take possession, to take over the reigns. This is important.
In our own life, God will enter in unsolicited, unsuspecting to take over the reigns.
Jesus uses this moment to proclaim his message. Peter's boat, his lifestyle and livelihood become a sounding board for his saving message. So too does JEsus want to make use of our livelihoods.
Step Two: Peter is invited to go out into the deep. This grates against Peter's expertise.
Peter, remember, is the expert fisherman. It is his job to know when to fish and when not to fish; it is his job to know where to fish and where not to fish.
Peter and his boys had been fishing all night. They labored through the night and caught nothing. The expert knows that night time is the ideal fishing time. He also knows that if he caught nothing at night then he will most certainly catch nothing in broad day light.
Peter also knows that the ideal spot for fishing is along the shore in the shallows where there is plenty of food for the fish, both weeds and bait. How often have I gone fishing and we have found ourselves chasing the bait. There is nothing out in the empty deep water.
The one thing the expert fisherman knows is both the prime time and prime place for fishing.
third step: Peter was tired and exhausted from the night's work. Both physically and emotionally worn out, he had every reason to say no. He knew he was pushing it to send the boys out again after they had just clean the nets.
Jesus was choosing neither the right time nor the right place. JEsus also seemed to be little concerned with the physical toil and exhaustion. Everything seem to be wrong, yet it had never been more ideal.
So Peter is reluctant. How often have been reluctant? How often have we relied on our own expertise?
Yet, Peter even in his expertise is willing to keep his own judgment in check.
Peter even in his expertise is willing to recognize the limits of his own judgment about what should be done and how it should be done.
In fact it is when we are ready to admit the limits of our own human judgments that we open ourselves up to a greater experience of God's goodness and a deeper knowledge of ourselves.
Seldom has there more beautiful words spoken in the bible then the words of Peter in today's gospel: "Master we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."
But at your command I will lower the nets.
When it comes to belief it isn't so much what we believe but rather who we believe!
Who we believe validates what we believe. It is never about what we think or what we suppose or how we think it should go but about what God has revealed, what has he spoken.
How often do to many think they are experts when it comes to God's revelation?
But at your command I will lower the nets.
What a beautiful invitation for us.
From that point on, Peter leaves everything and becomes a fisher of men.
He goes from making live fish dead to dead men alive.
What about us?
"Take my boat Lord, enter into my life, use it to preach your saving message; when my judgment is limited may your generosity shine through; when I think I’m the expert may you humble me true; when my natural capacity has been exhausted may you open the way for your supernatural light be ever more bright; Lord take my life and may it bring forth your goodness more and more and let everything be fore you. Amen!"