Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reflection for the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – The Fisherman

Simon had never had a day quite like this before. It began with a bad night of fishing. They hadn't caught a thing no matter how many times they had lowered their nets. He was tired and ready to go home to bed when a Man walked up, climbed into his boat, and asked him to put out a little way into the lake. Simon did so, not quite knowing why.

The Man taught the crowds on the shore (and the fishermen in the boat) for a long time. He spoke of God and God's plan for the world in ways and words that Simon had never heard before. He was intrigued. He wanted to hear more. But all too soon the Man finished speaking.

Then He turned to Simon and said, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon was surprised and suddenly very tired again. After all, he had been fishing all night. What good would one more try do? But somehow he couldn't say no, so he ordered his men to prepare the nets.

The results were spectacular. The nets, filled with a great number of fish, threatened to tear, and the men on Simon's boat had to call their partners to help haul in the load. Pretty soon both boats were so full of fish that they were near to sinking.

Simon knew this was no natural occurrence. He looked at the Man beside him and dropped to his knees. “Depart from me, Lord,” he whispered, “for I am a sinful man.” The Man smiled. “Do not be afraid,” He said, “from now on you will be catching men.” Simon didn't understand what He meant, but he realized that from that very moment, his life would never be the same again.

Friday – Delight

Today's psalm invites us to “take delight in the Lord.” How often do you do that? How often do you simply sit back and reflect on God's goodness and love? Do you ever just enjoy Him for Who He is? Do you ever break out into songs of praise for the God Who is beyond your imagination yet closer to you than you are to yourself?

We should delight in God even more than we delight in our friends, for He is our greatest Friend. We should spend time with Him, speak to Him, listen to Him, and relish His presence. We should bask in His love, treasure His gifts, and strive to know Him better. We should immerse ourselves in His Word, greet Him in the sacraments with joyful hearts, and pray constantly and confidently.

This is to take delight in the Lord. This is to grow in love for Him. This is to take the psalmist up on his invitation, which, of course, is really the call of God.

Saturday – The Responses of Apostles

The apostles didn't have an easy life in the early days of the Church. As St. Paul said, they were a spectacle to the world, disbelieved, mistreated, dishonored, persecuted, hungry, and homeless. “We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all,” Paul added.

How did the apostles respond to all of this? Paul tells us, “When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently.”

Wow. How many of us can honestly say we would do that in like circumstances? Would we bless those who ridicule us? Would we patiently endure persecution? Would we respond gently to slander? Most of us would have to answer in the negative. Yet God sets His apostles before us as models to imitate. Their behavior is to be our standard. So next time we find ourselves being treated as the apostles were, we should stop for a moment, reflect on their responses, and seek to make them our own.

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