Thursday, September 01, 2011

Jesus the Skipper

Today's Gospel presents Jesus teaching the crowds from Simon's boat. After the sermon, Jesus tells Simon to head out to deep water for a catch. (First, Jesus commandeers Simon's boat. Then he assumes the captain's role over the boat and its crew!) Naturally, Simon knows better. Not only is it daylight, the fish just aren't biting: Simon was out on that water all night. But he does a strange thing. He mans the oars (or the sail) and heads back into the lake.
Sometimes in my prayer, I feel like I have been hard at work for hours with nothing in my net. But the same Jesus who skippered Peter's boat wants to skipper mine. Trouble is, if it had been my boat Jesus was in, I probably would have run the other way at the thought of rowing back to the scene of a lost night of work. But Simon Peter had a very different response. "We have worked hard...but at your word I will lower the nets."
He was responding not simply to that final command about heading to the deep water; he was responding to the whole of Jesus' teaching, and to the overwhelming experience of seeing the cure of the demoniac in the synagogue, and then the cure of his own mother-in-law. Washing his nets, seemingly oblivious to what had been happening on shore among the crowd, Peter must have been listening intently to Jesus.
Maybe that's my answer.

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