Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6-11; Luke 5:1-11

Today begins the reading of the Gospel of St. Luke on Sunday (Second Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross). As in the case with the reading of St. Matthew after Pentecost (Matthew 4:18-23, Second Sunday after Pentecost), it begins with our Lord’s mission to his apostles, “Do be afraid, from now on you will be catching men (Luke 15:10). “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

In the Gospel today, the pre-eminent apostle Peter speaks of his relationship with God. If one reads any of the writings or sayings of the saints, the most holy of people, one always sees a great humility, a sense of our own sinfulness. God is infinite and all-holy, we are finite and weak beyond measure. And so we confess before receiving Communion, “O Lord, I believe and profess that you are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the first” (1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus works a miracle and gives St. Peter and gives him a super-abundant catch of fish. The first thing Peter does is say, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).

St. Paul in his Epistle, confirms that God is the giver of super-abundance. If this is so that we, also, in our humility must be generous, “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work …. The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8.10). These greatest saints, then, profess humility. Humility is not groveling before God, but simply the acute awareness of our relationship with God. It does not mean we disesteem ourselves, but that we find our true glory only in God, and not in our own strengths, and that we are destined to be more than our natural selves. It is sad that in these days of self-promotion and narcissism, humility has become the forgotten virtue, because it is at that point that the love of God fills and transforms our lives.