Gospel Reflection: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute



FEBRUARY 7, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Lord sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, 

and to proclaim liberty to captives.

Alleluia, Alleluia.


The Gospel of Saint Luke 5: 1-11

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.  After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “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.”  When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.  They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.   They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon.  Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

The Gospel of the Lord



This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday begins the sacred season of Lent – the annual Christian season for intensified prayer, fasting and alms giving.  So appropriately, our holy Church has carefully arranged the Gospel readings for the last three Sundays to provide a three week mini course in Christian Discipleship anchored in the Word of GodJesus Christ, the Word of God.  In other words, the Church is instructing us in the reason why we enthusiastically embrace Lent.  The Lenten discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is our response to the Word of God who speaks to us, enlightens us and calls us to be His disciples.

Saint Luke’s Gospel proclaims that Jesus Christ is the complete and absolute Word of God – the one and only true source of divine wisdom and the fullness of life.  When we listen to the Word of God proclaimed during Mass in the Liturgy of the Word, or in our daily reading of Sacred Scripture, we are presented with a choice: to accept and embrace Jesus as the Only Way, the Only Truth, and the Only Life, or to reject Jesus, the gift of the Father’s mercy and life.  There is no middle ground because not to accept Jesus as THE WORD OF GOD is to deny Jesus!

With this Sunday’s Gospel, Saint Luke further presents the implications of accepting Jesus as the final Word and Lord.   To embrace Jesus as the Word challenges us not to be passive listeners, but to be active ministers in service of the Word.  Saint Peter’s call by Jesus is significantly connected to the teaching ministry of Jesus.   After hearing the Word, Peter is presented with a challenge to: Put out into deep water … the realm of uncertainty and potential danger.   Peter’s company has: worked hard all night and have caught nothing.   But, at the command of Jesus, Peter risks the deep and lowers his nets … When they had done this they caught a great number of fish.  Peter listened to the Word of God; Peter believed the Word of God; and Peter followed the Word of God, and therefore experienced a multiplication of blessings.

We are not surprised by Peter’s reaction.  Whenever anyone becomes deeply aware, and indeed overwhelmed by the presence of God, the inevitable reaction is to acknowledge one’s unworthiness and sinful condition.  This display of profound truth opens oneself up to the assuring Word of God: Do not be afraid!

Saint Luke provides this significant episode in the life of Peter not as a mere recording of a past event happening to one individual.  Saint Luke reveals the divine pattern of God calling people into intimate union with Jesus through discipleship: daily listening to the Word of God; taking the risk of leaving calm waters at His command; surrendering our ways of fishing to His better way of living; acknowledging our unworthiness; and, setting aside everything for Him!

The Gospel proclaims that the Word of God was sent by the Father so that we would listen, believe, fish for others, and leave everything and follow His Son into eternal life.



Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com


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