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Thursday – Twenty-second week – OT1
Readings: Col 1:9-14; Lk 5:1-11.
1/ First Reading: RSV Colossians 1:9 And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 5:1 While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. 2 And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, 7 they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
I. THEME: We must wisely find out God’s will and loyally do it.
Many people only do what they think, and very reluctant to do according to others’ will. These people need to remember that doing what they think isn’t always bringing the best result. Therefore, people should always be opened, using their prudence and knowledge to recognize and to do according to the will which gives the best result.
Today readings encourage people to find out and to do God’s will in their life. In the first reading, knowing the importance of God’s will, St. Paul prayed for the Colossian faithful to have wisdom and understanding to fathom God’s will and the strength to do it. Those who do God’s will shall harvest many good results in this present life and reach the eternal life in the future life. In the Gospel, Jesus opened Peter and other apostles’ mind, heart and eyes to recognize God’s power, love and will for them in their life. He wanted them to change their career; instead of fishing, they now should pay attention to the preaching of the Gospel to conquer human souls for God.
1/ Reading I: Understanding and doing God’s will
1.1/ Understanding God’s will: St. Paul opened the Letter to the Colossians by his prayer, “From the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
The most dangerous temptation which people always face is to do according to what they think. Right from the beginning, Adam and Eve felt into this temptation by disobeying God and eating the fruit which God prohibited them to eat because they think it shall make them better, to know good and evil without the need of God’s instruction. From that time on, people keep falling into this temptation by rejecting God’s and His prophets’ instructions. The reasons for this tendency are human pride and near-sighted view. They don’t want to obey anyone because they think obedience degrades their value. They don’t recognize their limitation that they can’t foresee what shall happen for them in the future, so most of the time they pay attention only to the present values, what can immediately satisfy their desire and passion.
To fathom God’s will, St. Paul mentioned the first two gifts of the Holy Spirit which are wisdom (sophia) and understanding (synesis); not any of human wisdom and understanding. The Holy Spirit’s wisdom is also God’s wisdom, which knows all things in God’s plan, especially always orients to the ultimate goal which is to be lived with God forever. The Holy Spirit’s understanding includes the application of his wisdom into one’s life to benefit for him and others.
1.2/ Doing God’s will: Understanding God’s will is only one part; the other part is doing God’s will. Once found God’s will, people must do it until the end; even they must sacrifice other things and suffer. St. Paul mentioned another Holy Spirit’s gift which is “fortitude.” St. Paul believe this gift shall help people to overcome all obstacles, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”
Doing God’s will shall bring to people two rewards:
(1) It will bear fruits: Doing one’s will might bring a good result; doing God’s will always bring good results. St. Paul listed some of them, “To lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him… bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (2) It leads people to the eternal life: Not only Christ came to reveal God’s will for people but he also poured out his blood to bring God’s will to perfection, that is, to take away people’s sins and to salvation for them. St. Paul described these as follows, “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
2/ Gospel: Jesus’ wisdom versus Peter’s experimental prudence
Revelation and teaching had an important part in Jesus’ earthly mission because through them he reveals and teaches people about God’s wisdom and mysteries. In today passage, St. Luke reported a typical time of Jesus’ teaching and people’s reaction to it, “While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.”
2.1/ Peter’s prudence was tested by Jesus’ wisdom: First of all, we need to make a difference between wisdom and prudence. According to St. Thomas, wisdom is the knowledge which one has while prudence is the application of one’s knowledge in a practical situation. Let us analyze Peter’s reaction to recognize the difference between the two.
Peter had experimental prudence because he is a fisherman. He also had some of divine wisdom because he had heard Jesus’ teaching. His prudence was tested by Jesus’ wisdom when Jesus commnanded him, “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.”
Peter’s answer wanted Jesus to understand what he implied: I am the fisherman and frequently catch fishes in this sea. I have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. Now, the net has been washed and you have no experience about fishing, command me to lower the net one more time. I obey you out of my respect for you, but I can guarantee that it is a waste of time.
Peter was wrong in his thinking, this time he caught many fishes to the point that he couldn’t haul in and the net was almost torn. He got two boats full of fish!
2.2/ Peter recognized Jesus’ wisdom and his unworthiness: The first thing Peter recognized is his experimental wisdom of fishing is nothing before Jesus’ wisdom. The second thing he recognized is that Jesus knew all of his insulted thoughts toward him. Peter confessed his sin and his unworthiness by falling at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
Jesus didn’t rebuke Peter but charged him for a more important task, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”Peter and his friends must recognized that there is no one who is wiser than Jesus and they decided to leave everything to follow Jesus.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We need to learn and to pray so that God might enlighten us to understand His will for us, and also ask for His strength to do it.
– Doing God’s will always help us to bear good fruits in the present life and guarantees for us the eternal life.