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Learning to trust his voice

Simon Peter acknowledges his sinfulness and inadequacies, yet the Lord entrusts the ministry of leadership to him! Peter said, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (v.8). 

It is the way the bible tells of the encounter with the Lord: Moses covers his face, because he is afraid (Exodus 3:6); Elijah covers his face with his mantle (1 Kings 19:13). 

Like Isaiah—we saw it in the first reading—Peter also feels sinful. Not because he, until then, had led an immoral life, but realises the distance that separates him from God and confesses his own unworthiness. 

It is about how much the Lord can do with a sinful, fragile human person. Despite being occupied by sinners, it is from Peter’s boat that the word of God is proclaimed. 

Peter takes the boat to the place indicated (v.4); he proclaims his faith in the power of the word of Jesus (v.5), he recognises him as Lord (v.8) and it is to him that the invitation to be fisher of people is directed (v.10). 

All these elements indicate that Peter has a particular task to carry out in the Church: to listen attentively to the word of the Lord and then to lead, together with the other disciples, not where their professional experience and abilities would suggest he go, but where the master tells him.

On the orders of the master, the boat venturs out on the waters of the sea. There the disciples are invited to cast their nets and to fish (vv.4-7). 

Peter argues, it seems to him that the order given by Jesus is senseless: as it is not the appropriate time to fish. But he trusts. 

He is the first person in Jesus’ public life to manifest his faith in the word of the master. It is a big risk that Peter is willing to take. 

He knows that, if unsuccessful, he is exposed to ridicule and ire of his colleagues. Human logic would suggest he give up, but he prefers to obey. 

After a moment of uncertainty, he decides and gets to work. He believes that the word of Jesus can accomplish the impossible. He has already experienced the power of this word when he saw his mother-in-law cured instantly from her fever (Luke 4:38-39).

The result is amazing, the amount of fish caught is huge and the evangelist emphasises various details: the nets are going to break, he should enlist the help of his friends, the boats are fully loaded and in danger of sinking.

Do we have full confidence in the master’s voice? Do we know how to recognise this voice? Are we able to distinguish it from the “wisdom of the world,” the “common sense” and human calculations, their insights, their personal beliefs?

 

Father Fernando Armellini CMF 
Claretian Publications