3rd Sunday of Easter (C) 2019

Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and two other disciples went out onto Lake Galilee one evening to fish. They were professional fishermen and had fished this big lake all their lives. I would assume that being so many they went in two or three boats. They fished all night (at night the fish would not see the nets and would hopefully swim into them) but caught nothing. (In a large body of water the fish tend to migrate).
At first light they wearily headed back to shore with nothing to show for their hard work.
As they neared the shore a stranger standing there called to them to know if they had any fish (Obviously wanting to buy some). Getting a negative answer he suggested that they try again just where they are. Sceptical and just to please him (he might be someone important) Peter complied and to his astonishment made his biggest catch ever.
The same story in Luke tells us that ‘when Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.’
Peter got the message.
Peter and his companions went forth confidently to fish. They were professionals and knew the lake and how to fish it. They caught nothing. Then this stranger who never fished made a suggestion which they followed for the fun of it knowing that, so near the shore, it was ridiculous. It would make a good story and give them a good laugh over a glass of wine later.
But they made their biggest catch ever.
The message is, and I quote St. Paul; “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”
Everything in the Bible must be interpreted as symbolic of some spiritual truth; Of of how God thinks and acts.
Confidence, drive, ambition, application to the job are all laudable in this world. In the spiritual world I get nowhere until, as St. Paul says “God’s power is made perfect in weakness. …… Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
A realisation that when it comes to the things of God; When it comes to my relationship with God my personal effort gets me nowhere. It is recognising my weakness, my helplessness, my frailty, and opening my life to God to do with me as God wills, that allows God to act in me and through me. This attitude, this conviction is called humility or truth. It is elusive.
In today’s Gospel reading Peter got and accepted this lesson in humility. This is what qualified him for leadership among the Apostles.
As Jesus said ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.’