Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 3:18-23; Luke 5:1-11)

A witness to the process of canonization of St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, testified that the saint never became agitated or angry. Even on arduous journeys, Paul of Venice said, Dominic “was always happy in tribulations and patient in adversities.” This note regarding another saint may help us appreciate the holiness of Simon Peter in the gospel today.

Simon must feel tired and frustrated as he returns from a long night of fishing without catching anything. We might think of the writer who spends hours before her computer before realizing that she has typed nothing worth saving. Or Simon at this moment may be compared to the farmer who comes home to find his garden completely ruined by raccoons. Simon may want to swear and certainly needs to rest before considering his next outing. When Jesus at that moment tells him to put out to sea and lower the nets again, he may even consider exploding, “What do you know about fishing?” But instead he tells the Lord calmly what took place during the night and without hesitation does as Jesus commands. The result, of course, is a catch so stupendous that Simon is completely humbled and entirely changes his life.

Very often in the New Testament followers of Jesus are exhorted to patience, kindness, and gentleness. Roughness, bitterness, and rancor are not Christian virtues. Not only do soft words and obliging ways attract others to Christ, they also act like gentle rains producing abundant fruit for their practitioners.