Trinity V Sunday

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Trinity V

Luke 5: 1-11

“And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed him”

 We live in a world where success is the focus. Seminars, advertisements, magazines, they all assess the need to achieve. This great country of America is built as a free democratic society that teaches people to succeed. Three weeks ago, in the process of moving from Woodbridge to Fort Belvoir where my family and I now live, I took time to go through some of my books and I noticed how I have been influenced by our American culture of success. Here are some titles: “The Power of Positive Thinking”, “It’s Possible”, “The Magic of Thinking Big”, “Seeds of Greatness”, “The Positive Principle Today”, and “How to Succeed in the Christian Life”.

Even church leadership is success oriented. I don’t see anything wrong about that, as long as we do it to give glory to God. God does not want his children to fail. Jesus came to show us how to live as successful children of God. When we follow his footsteps and let him be the ruler of our lives, he takes us from victory to victory.

With that in mind, let us look at our gospel lesson for today. The disciples of Jesus had spent the entire night fishing without any success. They were getting ready to go home, eat breakfast, rest a little bit, and do something else more productive. That’s when Jesus came and that changed the whole story.

Jesus and success

Listen to this: He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. (5) “But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing;…”
 Obviously, Simon Peter was reluctant to do as Jesus has commanded. He and his friends had worked all night. And besides, he was a fisherman and knew very well his job. But he had many obstacles to overcome in order to be successful.

  • Obstacle of fatigue: Peter was tired and so were all the other disciples. I personally know what it means to obey God when your body is crying out for rest. It is also easy to be so busy with our lives that we have no time for God. The sad thing is that some “busy” people end up giving God the leftovers of their time, their talents and their resources. But Peter didn’t do that. He refused to give in to his fatigue, but rather said, “… because you said so.”
  • The obstacle of his skills and experiences. We are all temped to rely on our experiences instead of relying on what God says. When it comes to fishing, Peter was an expert; he was a professional. So he can’t see anyway at all that what Jesus asks is going to work! But what Jesus was asking Peter was to trust his word. He was asking Peter to try again even though he had failed in the past. This would be an important lesson for Peter in the future, not to allow past failure to keep him from obeying God. Beloved, the Lord may ask you to try again even if you have failed in the past. Will you allow past failure to keep you from following Jesus’ instructions? 
  • The obstacle of fears: Most of the times, the biggest obstacle that we face in being obedient to God is our own fear – fear of being inadequate, fear of failure. What kind of fear are you experiencing right now? It is absolutely impossible to estimate how many blessings we have lost because we were too tired, too discouraged or even too fearful.

 When we overcome all these obstacles, we become successful because at that very moment we start moving into the dynamic of the One that is the source of all blessings. Listen again to what Jesus told Peter: “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” This was to say that Peter’s future life would not be just catching fish, bringing them from life to death, but catching men, bringing them from death to life.

Look at how the story ended. Peter and his friends turned their back on the biggest catch of their lives and followed Jesus. That’s what we call “Secuela Christi” (follow Christ). The Secuela (to follow) is a Latin word which signifies the deepest inward attachment. That is the key to true and successful life. It is found through obedience to the word of God. This principle applies to every aspect of our lives. And that’s why we should always focus on obedience if we want to succeed with God. Leave everything behind; follow Christ; and you will succeed.

In conclusion, I would like you to hear the word of God from the book of Joshua 1: 8. It was after the death of Moses. Joshua was now the new leader and God spoke these words to him saying: “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”