Thursday, September 05, 2019

Stay with me Lord!!

Luke 5: 1-11

Did Simon Peter, James, and John know who Jesus was at this point in the Gospel?  As I read back through the previous chapter I think there is ample evidence that they probably knew who He was but didn't know Him intimately.  He had been healing the sick and casting out demons before He met the fishermen.  He even healed Peter's mother-in-law but we aren't told if Peter is around for that, or even asked for it ;-)

So it appears that when Jesus arrives seaside Peter is intrigued to finally meet this man that he has heard so much about.  He and his partners haven't had the opportunity to hear Jesus because they work at fishing all night and sleep most of the day.  It isn't surprising then that Peter agrees to allow Jesus to preach from his boat.

As is the case so often in Scripture, here too I would love to know what Jesus said from that boat on the water.  Too often we are told that Jesus preached to the crowds but not what He preached.  Whatever the words, they must have had an impact on Simon Peter.  He agrees to follow the suggestion of this "carpenter's son" to lower his nets, once more.  This in itself is remarkable because by the time Jesus finished His teaching, the other men probably had the nets cleaned, repaired, folded, and stored for the next evening's work.  Perhaps too, that is another reason they left everything...

The catch is huge, they call others for help in bringing it in.  Peter realizes that he is witnessing a miracle.  Maybe there really is something to this itinerant preacher who supposedly has healed the sick and cast out demons.  All of the other miracles Peter has heard about didn't affect him directly.  Perhaps he brushed much of it away as pious tales of people with too much time on their hands.  However, this load of fish speaks to Peter.  The Lord meets him where he's at, in his work, in his day to day.  He does the same for us, if we but listen.

Rather than abandon our boat, nets, and livelihood, I think most of us would try to use Jesus as a fish-finder.  You know, take Him out on the boat and have Him tell us where to throw our nets.  After all, Peter and his partners were facing a financial difficulty that morning and now they have one of the biggest hauls of their lives!  They won the fisherman lottery.  This Jesus could be their secret weapon to destroy the competition.  They could get a fleet of boats together and create a multi-billion shekel business!  Peter could be the CEO!  Peter would in fact be the "CEO" but Jesus had other ideas for the type of fishing they would do.

Image result for the calling of peterOne final thought, we've often talked about when God says "no" and here we have a great example of that in the calling of Peter.  Peter, filled with zeal as he often was, cries out, "Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man."  It's a prayer of sorts, one of humility and guilt.  He is convicted by his doubt and perhaps his ridicule of others who believed in Jesus' power.  Luckily for Peter and us, God says, "no".  He knows Peter is sinful but He will not leave.  He knows we are sinful but He will not leave us either.  He says, "no" to Peter, James, John, you, and me.  I'm glad He does.

So, perhaps we can take a little artistic license with Scripture today and twist some words to make Peter's prayer a little better and maybe touch even more deeply the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Maybe we can simply change two words to express what our hearts really desire - "Stay with me Lord, for I am a sinful man."

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
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