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.
My wife, Cheryl, is a good listener. It’s her charism, a wonderful gift in her elder-care ministry. She developed her listening skills through Stephen ministry and other training programs and regularly exercises it when visiting the homebound and seniors.
Not so much for me. I don’t find it easy to just listen. I want to jump in and solve problems, sometimes with undue haste. In today’s Gospel, Simon and those with him listened to Jesus. Yet when it was time to obey, Simon reacted. “I have tried all night to catch fish!” Then Simon took a breath, reconsidered, and obeyed. And Jesus provided far more than fish for a day: Simon, James and John found vocations for life.
So what is the lesson for me? Perhaps today it simply is this: listen first; act second. Take a moment each day to be “contemplative” before revving up “in action.”
—Howard Craig is the director of advancement for the Midwest Jesuits. He and his wife Cheryl have five daughters, six grandkids, and two dogs.
Lord, this day grant me the gift of listening. May I honor you by listening for your presence in every conversation, every encounter. May I acknowledge your authority in my life by giving due respect to the words and thoughts of all your beloved ones that I meet, especially those who are least like me.
Amen.Please share the Good Word with your friends!