I Am Going Fishing
Updated: May 9, 2020
It's day six of the Easter season, and after a long Lenten journey, I think most of us agree that the switch couldn't have come at a better time. Lent is a hard enough period with the prayer, fasting and alms giving. Then came this quarantining! We all just want things to return to normal. Normal is good, it's comfortable. But ask yourself this question - is a return to your old self a good thing? Is a return to how our society was before truly beneficial? Of course I want shops to reopen, people to go back to work, churches to offer public masses and the sacraments once again! These are all good things, but they could be great things, if only you and I open our heart to what God wants from us.
Hopefully you and I have learned something over these last few weeks, something that will stick with us long after the feels have gone away, but if you're like me, or the example I want to talk about, going back to the familiar (our old self) might not be the best thing. It's comfortable, and in many ways it will prove to be inevitable, but it is not our only option.
If you open up your bible to chapter 21 of the Gospel of John, you can see what I'm talking about. At this point in this gospel narrative, Jesus has already appeared to the twelve apostles after His Resurrection. They have seen the risen Lord; He has spoken to them, comforted them, offered His peace and breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Honestly, it sounds like a pretty moving experience if you ask me. So why is it that just a few verses later, instead of forgiving the sins of others like Jesus invited them to do, Peter and the boys are "Going fishing"? When all else fails, we turn to the familiar.
I don't think I can repeat that phrase enough, not to only get it into your head, but to get it into mine. We love the familiar. It provides us with a comfort we desire and don't trust ourselves to find in an unfamiliar situation. The reality is, we can attempt to be our best selves for a short period (say forty days), but for the long term? It often times seems too daunting. We often approach Lent searching for a seasonal change when God invites us into one that is much greater than that. And this takes me back to my main point once again - when all else fails, we turn to the familiar.
Just like the apostles, our desire to return to what we know isn't because we want to go back to our old ways, but instead, because we don't fully believe we are able to be more! But what happens when the apostles get back into their boat? They don't catch anything. Well, not until Jesus shows up. When Jesus shows up, He offers them a bit of advice, a bit of support and a bit of faith. They've been in this spot before, and after thinking back, I'm sure they knew what was going to happen when they cast their nets on Jesus' command. A huge catch!
Aren't we somewhat similar to these broken men? We finish up the beautiful Lenten season but now we find ourselves saying, what next? Resorting back to our old selves is so easy, but there is Jesus standing on the shore, once again, with the same invitation He had for us yesterday, and the day before, and every single day before that. He wants us to trust Him, and offers us a bit of advice, a bit of support and bit of faith. He wants us to have a big catch.
What do you want?
I invite you to spend time over these next few weeks reflecting on that question - what do you want? - and seeing if it aligns with what He wants. The world will go back to normal soon enough, but will we be better than before? The apostles eventually figured it out, and with the help of the Holy Spirit and Divine Mercy, transformed the world. We too have an opportunity to have a similar impact. Throw out your nets, brothers and sisters, and make a big catch!
May Jesus Christ be praised!