In this Sunday’s Gospel St Luke recorded Jesus teaching from Simon’s boat. St Luke’s intention is to emphasize the importance of the figure of Simon in the scheme of things. Later, Jesus will rename him Peter, or “Cephas”, the “rock” on which he will ‘build his Church”.
In this Sunday’s episode, Our Lord instructs Simon about where to lower the fishing nets after he and his companions have been fishing throughout the night and fail to catch anything. Although initially Simon protested saying that such an effort will be futile, eventually he lowers his nets into the deeper water as directed. So many fish are caught that the nets begin to tear. In the ensuing dialogue, Our Lord gives Simon a new task, telling him that he is to become a different kind of fisherman: a fisher of men. No longer will he just catch fish; instead he will catch people. In these words, we hear the beginning of the leadership role that Jesus gives to Simon (Peter) within the community of disciples. Simon Peter’s task will be to bring others to Jesus, in the boat that is the Church, the Catholic Church, the universal Church. In the Catholic Church we have an unbroken line of the successor of Peter, and we call him the Pope. In our time, we continue to speak of Peter’s leadership and influence in the Church, and his unifying role in the one faith.
But the Church’s mission is not just the responsibility of the Pope, or the priests, or the religious, it is the responsibility of each and every baptized. All who are baptized participate in Peter’s task, in the mission of the Church, when they bring people to Christ through the example and positive influence of their lives.
God Bless Fr Michael