“AT THY WORD…FEAR NOT”
Saint Luke 5. 1-11
5th Sunday after Trinity: 20 July Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
Yes; fishermen think that they and only they know all about fishing. Professional fishers don’t need some goat-herder from Nazareth suggesting they may have missed a “hot-spot.” We are all such self-possessed and arrogant “professionals;” professional sinners that is! Lawyers and doctors don’t like the Wikipedia-armed autodidacts correcting them. Contractors, dentists, architects, pastors, gardeners, nurses, programmers, musicians and candlestick makers also have a rugged individualism and independence that daily slides into pride: “I have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing.”
People pressed around the Lord for various reasons. It’s still that way today. Some people come to Jesus out of curiosity or novelty. Some gather around Christ and His followers to do them damage—enemies from the Sanhedrin and the modern day Sanhedrins. Others are drawn by hopes of seeing signs and miracles, loaves and fishes, or as brother “Joel-O” preaches the heresy: “health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.”
But the Holy Ghost calls you by the Gospel. The Good News is the only thing that fills the emptiness. The Word is the only thing that calms and banishes the fear. The Christ is the only One Who embraces you with the love you crave and need.
The devil’s lie is to convince you that you are special because after all you are YOU! No. You are special because the Lord loves you and has loved you from before the beginning. You are special because He has purchased and won you back from sin, the devil, and death itself. He has redeemed you and given you the worth of God’s own son. It doesn’t matter that you are a lousy fisherman, a failed businessman, a no-name, mediocre, run-of-the-mill, and unnoticed, man and woman in the crowds. For He has come to you in His Scriptures preached and taught; in His mysterious Word united with water, wheat and grapes; in His pastorly hand of absolution and forgives you for your failures, fleeings, and ferocious sins of murder and rebellion.
The Spirit gave Peter the Word made flesh right in his own boat. The Holy Spirit gives you the Word, and the Word made flesh and blood right in The Christ’s own saving ship this morning. You have thrust out from the burned out, ravished, dying, and groaning land for this hour or so of mystical Mass wherein heaven and earth meet together, justice and righteousness kiss at the Crucifix which is our mast, standard, ensign, and only miracle! “Simon, brothers and sisters of my Bride Augsburg, launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”
The nets broke, ripped under incredible strain, because the draught was so great, so large. The Lord desires all to be saved. Did some fish spill out and swim away? And what of it? What is this to you? The elect will be saved. No one who is written in the Book of Life—i.e. the Body and Blood of Jesus—will be lost for none can pry a Saint from the nail wounds of the God/Man!
The net separating, ripping, is a symbolic way to show there was still atoning work and atoning suffering and death for the Messiah to do. There was also a mission to task upon these Galileans, and these Shawnee-ians! Be joyously about the Gospel. Be the Christians He has made you. For you know that the net of the Church, the Old and the New, the Hebrew and the Greek, the Jew and the Gentile is stitched and knitted together in the flesh of the Nazarene. In His Body which is the Church Catholic there are no more, nor can there ever be, rips and fissures, for He suffered all the holes and openings on the Cross…once for all. Now, as we see in John’s Evangel, post-Resurrection, another great draught of fishes where the net does not break…the Church, which is Jesus with His flock, cannot be defeated, silenced, or put from Her joyous mission—which is God’s Mission.
Christ’s Mission is that you follow Him, that you forsake your past lives of bondage and servility to sin and boldly walk in His cruciform. The Churches mission is to receive Her Savior in His Blessed Word and to be fed His precious Word. Transformed by His Word you praise and give thanks and serve your neighbor with the self-same Good News of Christ Crucified!
And, what do you have to do? The doing has been done. You now live in Christ. It is a joy-filled life but not necessarily a happy life; not an easy life; not a life spared from sickness, loss, and temporary death; but a supernally joy-filled life of Peace is yours every day as you receive into your boat the Christ of God. Simon fear not!
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost