Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
On the television show, “The Deadliest Catch,” a camera crew follows crab fishermen out on dangerous seas and film and document their crab catches. The fishermen use big cages as their nets. These cages catch everything, not just crab. When these nets, these cages, are collected from the sea, the fishermen go through the catch saving the valuable crab and throwing everything else, of no value, back into the sea.
Fishing… retrieving… calling — this is the focus of our readings today. There is a fisherman and there are fish. And it is God working as the fisherman, and we the people are his catch that he is calling, that he is retrieving.
Our first reading today is from Isaiah. Isaiah is in the center of a sinful world, and he admits too, that he is part of that sinfulness. Amidst this Isaiah sees a vision of God and his angels. God comes to aid Isaiah and breathes into him new life. And calls Isaiah to share this new life and hope with the world. God searches out Isaiah and calls him to serve.
In our second reading, Paul reminds and admonishes the Corinthians that God passed to him the Gospel. This Gospel is truth, redemption, and salvation. He tells the Corinthians to receive this Gospel and to live their lives by it. Paul acknowledges that he himself doubted this Gospel and persecuted those who believed in it. But God called him. God fished for him. God made Paul one with HIM.
Lastly, in our Gospel, we see Simon Peter is at his wit’s end. He and his fellow fishermen have spent the evening fishing and have caught nothing. What is Jesus’ response? “Put the net out again.” Simon Peter questioned putting the net out again, he doubted doing it because they hadn’t caught anything all night, but he eventually did what Christ asked.
These three readings today show us who God, the fisherman, has caught, retrieved, and called: Isaiah, a person living a sinful life in a sinful world; Paul, a soldier who persecuted and killed Christians; and Simon Peter, a person who doubted Jesus’s power. These persons show us who we are: sinners, persecutors, doubters. We are some bad catch!
But God is not like those crab fishermen on “The Deadliest Catch.” When he fishes for his people, he doesn’t look for the valuable crab and throw everything else back into the sea, he keeps us ALL to Himself.
Believing in this call that God made to us ALL, let us say firmly as Isaiah said in the first reading, “Here I am, send me!”
Reflection by Fr. Macario Martinez, OSB