Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Pope John Paul II made a mighty impression on Washington Post reporter Haynes Johnson during the papal visit in 1979. Although the newsman had covered events and personalities for decades, Johnson was swept away by the pope’s energy, message, and sense of mission. A confirmed Protestant, he simply stood in awe of the Catholic hierarch.
In the gospel today Peter shows an even great wonder for Jesus than Haynes Johnson’s for Pope John Paul. When he sees the tremendous catch of fish made at Jesus’ command, Peter prostrates before him. A commentator notes how Peter does not respond to Jesus as a fisherman saying, “’Why didn’t I know where the fish were?’” but as a human being before one whom he recognizes as Lord. Like the prophet Isaiah at his call or like any one human experiencing the holy, Peter must confess his unworthiness.
In our attempt to understand Jesus as human, we often miss the fundamental insight of the apostles and the gospels. Jesus certainly was subject to human limitations, but his co-existing divine nature enabled him to stand out as Lord of the universe. Only as such does following him today make sense. The gospel states that Peter and company “left everything and followed him.” We have to at least leave behind our wanton desires in our following.