Remember the great line from Luke 24:32 (the road to Emmaus), where the disciples exclaim, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Jesus opened the scriptures as only the author of the scriptures can do.
It’s amazing how the right word or phrase can bring a “blurry and incomplete understanding into sharp focus”. I guess that’s the key role of a teacher. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a homily and the priest will say something that answers a question that I’ve been pondering for some time…. “Gee, that’s what that means… I get it now… wow.” It’s a great moment.
The other day I was reading a meditation by Bishop Robert Barron on Chapter 5 of the gospel of Luke where Jesus directs Peter to “put out into the deep for a catch”. I’ve read that passage many times and thought I understood it pretty well. Well, the Bishop mentions three points that got my attention.
Listen to this:
- He says most of us spend our spiritual lives in the shallows, preoccupied with the petty things of this world (wealth, power, reputation, pleasure). “Woooo, cut to the quick…he nailed it… he’s reading my mind…” He goes on to say that “we are meant for the adventure of the open sea… the high demand of the spiritual life…. we are not meant for child’s play.” I found my weary soul perking up at these words. I found myself cheering….” that’s true…. let’s put aside child’s play and petty things and get out into the open sea. Wow …. close your eyes and feel the spray of the ocean waves as we head out.
- Listen to his next point. He says that after we do risk something for God in the deep, “leaving behind selfish obsessions …. taking in life, and life to the full, drawing closer to the Lord, …. we change”. We become aware of the greatness of God and our own sinfulness in comparison. “ Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man”. We repent.
- The third point is also true. He says, “ what follows from a profound experience of God and an honest confession of sin is an embrace of mission…giving as a gift what we have received as a gift.” (ref. Bishop Barron, Magnificat, Feb. 5, 2022)
So, let’s put out into the deep once again. “But Lord, we already fished all night and caught nothing…. I’ve already tried to get rid of that nagging sin…I’ve already prayed for that child and he’s not healed …. Lord, I prayed and my boss is still a mad man.” No, let’s put out once again into the deep, trusting that the Lord is at hand and will help us. Let’s get out of the shallows, away from the child’s play, taking in life to the full.
We need to experience God as we put out into the deep and allow his spirit to convict us of our sin… and mission will follow. Hey, that’s pretty exciting. That is very good news.