Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Luke 5:1-11

On this Sunday, we begin to read the Gospel of St. Luke, which will be the Word of God proclaimed to us in the Church Year from the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross to the coming Great Fast. It is fitting that this Sunday’s Gospel tells us what is involved in being a Christian. We all want to be called after Christ, but do we truly grasp what this will mean. One certain meaning of the Christian faith is that it is unexpected, that it brings great blessing out of the desert of the world: “After Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.’ Simon said in reply, ‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. (Luke 5:4-6)” This is the power of faith, which was again reaffirmed after Jesus’ resurrection: “When it was already dawn, [the risen] Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you caught anything to eat?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ So he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. (John 21:4-6)”

The risen Christ is with us, filling all corners of our life. St. Paul in today’s epistle, expresses this Christian paradox very forcefully, “We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful; as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things. (2 Corinthians 6:8-10)” St. Paul warns that the true believer must suffer “afflictions, hardships, constraints, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, vigils, fasts, (2 Corinthians 6:4-5), but that “Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)” St. Peter is reduced to humility at the miraculous catch of fish and begs, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. (Luke 5:8)” Jesus does not accept this, just as he did not accept Peter’s refusal to have his feet washed at the Last Supper, ““Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me. (John 13:8)” Instead, he makes him a fisher of men. Beloved in Christ, Jesus will also not accept our refusal to follow him, to love God with our whole heart and mind and soul, to love our neighbor as ourselves, as St. Paul exhorts us, “Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)