Homily September 7th, 2023

Thursday of the Twenty-second week in Ordinary Time – Lk 5:1-11

In the Gospel we just heard the call of Saint Peter. When we think about it, it is interesting that Peter obeyed Jesus’ request: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Duc in altum. It’s interesting, because there are at least three reasons why Peter didn’t have to obey. First of all, Jesus is a carpenter, and Peter is a fisherman. So, on the surface, Jesus doesn’t know anything about fishing. The second reason, because it was already daytime, and the best time to fish is at night. And thirdly, Peter was already tired; they had already started, and probably finished, cleaning the nets. To cast the nets now means to lose all that work, at the wrong time, on the advice of a carpenter.

However, despite all the reasons for doing the opposite, whether they be three or three hundred, despite all the inconveniences, Peter saw the only true reason: he obeyed because it was God’s will.

It was surely not an easy thing; he even told Jesus that apparently it didn’t make much sense. Sailing into deep water also involves risk, because you can’t see what’s down at the bottom. However, Christ knew it, and it was there, when Peter decided to obey the will of Christ, that he found two things: first, he found the best catch of his life, but second, and more importantly, he found that that catch, which maybe was the goal of his life as a fisherman, was not so important now. It lost importance in comparison with the call of Jesus.

This story also repeats itself in our lives. Christ calls each one of us to be holy, and also to fulfill a certain role in his kingdom. This applies first of all to those who have not discerned their vocations: many people have the habit to pray the perpetual novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Discernment. In the end, the vocation becomes concrete when we decide to obey the call of Christ. There may be millions of reasons why it doesn’t seem like a good idea, or it’s not right, but if the only reason that matters is there, that is, the call of Jesus, we should continue.

And for us who have decided to follow a path, we know that surrender does not end with just making that choice. We have to continue giving ourselves every day, more and more. Duc in altum is a call to generosity, to magnanimity. To love is to choose, and every day, we have to choose and re-choose to follow Christ. The joke is told that a new priest, recently ordained, was for the first time in a parish, having breakfast for the first time with his pastor, and asked him: “Father, when did you decide to become a priest?” And the pastor, with his many years of priesthood, said to him: “Today, when I woke up.” Duc in altum, every day, in religious life, or in priestly life, or in married life.

Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and Saint Peter, who gave himself entirely in Christ’s service, for the grace to follow Christ, to love Him above all things, and to follow Him, making the necessary choices.



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