Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(Colossians 1:9-14; Luke 5:1-11)

Frank Leahy, the legendary football coach at Notre Dame, once told how he recruited the Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung. Hornung was a high school star in Louisville when Leahy talked with him. “God has blessed you with a magnificent body,” the coach said and then asked, “Wouldn’t you like to use it for the glory of His mother?” This may seem incredible but those who knew Leahy say that he had a sincere, almost naive charm.

Perhaps Jesus in the gospel today speaking to Peter sounds as simple as Leahy. “Put out into the deep,” he says but more in the imperative than interrogative mode, “and lower your nets for a catch.” Jesus comes from the family of a carpenter, but Peter has just witnessed his casting out Peter’s mother’s demon. He cannot not comply with Jesus’ wish. The resulting catch of fish becomes a parable of how Peter will convert masses of people to the Lord with his preaching once Jesus rises from the dead and sends his Spirit upon his disciples.

We may hear the Lord make a similar, seemingly naive call to us. Perhaps it will be to give up our career to become a priest or religious. Or maybe he will want us to dedicate a portion of time to serve the needy. We need to discern carefully to make sure that the urge is not our own desire to appear as saints or even martyrs. But like Paul Hornung it may very well be that the Lord is really asking us to give ourselves more thoroughly for his glory.