Sunday, September 28, 2008

Put Out Into the Deep

Summer is behind us and school is well underway. Our children wake up early for school and return late in the afternoon to a series of tasks which includes homework so they are ready for the next day. They end the night in the deep slumber of sleep ready for whatever the world will bring their way the next day, but their peaceful sleep is sometimes interrupted by unknown shadows or dreams. They depend upon us as their parents to comfort them and assure them that they are safe and God will protect them. Sometimes they lie awake worried about what lurks in the deep sleep that awaits them.

I imagine the same anxiedt must have been lurking in Simon when Christ said, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5.4) Just like our children, Simon was busy preparing for the next day cleaning his nets when Jesus came to his boat. Jesus stepped into Simon’s boat and began to teach from the shoreline of the known waters. After teaching Jesus then told Simon, “Launch out into the deep,” as if to say, “I’ve taught you this much; now let’s go deeper into the unknown.”

As long as Simon kept to the shallow known waters of the Lake of Gennesaret he felt safe. Saint Ambrose suggests that Christ’s invitation to “launch into the deep” is for us to give our life over to the deep mysteries of God. We are called by Christ to depart from our comfort zone, to leave the comfort of what we know “will work” in our everyday lives and launch ourselves into a place where only God can comfort us.

God comforts us every day when He sees our anxiety. Christ did not just tell Simon to launch into deep waters, He first said, “Put out a little,” and He taught from the comfort of the known waters. Simon was called by God to allow his boat to be used for the teaching and glory of God. The waters were known, but Simon didn’t know what it would mean to allow Jesus to use his boat as a pulpit. God comforts us when He allows us to begin with what we already know and then depart for the deep.

Just as Simon launched his boat for deeper waters after seeing Jesus teach, we are also called to go deeper in our faith in Jesus Christ. I’m sure we would have the same response as Simon, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” (Luke 5.5) Simon caught so many fish he had to call other boats to help bring it all to shore. God blessed Simon’s willingness to launch into the deep. God will bless us too when we launch into the deep unknown with faith that God will keep His promise.

God’s promise to Simon was simple… “Have faith in My ability to bring you the fish, and let Me do the rest.” His promise for us today is just as simple, “Have faith in the Word of God and He will take care of the rest.” All Simon had to do was go into the deep unknown water allowing Jesus to lead the way.

Jesus didn’t ask Simon to launch into deep until after He first taught from the boat. And He doesn’t ask us to go deeper before He teaches us. Week after week we gather to hear the Gospel and give glory to God in this beautiful Church. God has been teaching us and now it is time for us to hear His call and launch our lives deeper in our faith. What will our response to this call be?

God is calling us, just as He called Simon, to dedicate our lives – our businesses, our families, our church – to the teaching of God’s Holy Word. Simon was blessed when he allowed Jesus to use him and his boat for teaching and He will bless us – our businesses, our families, and our Church – when we allow Jesus to use us for His teaching. We must be willing to go deeper my dear brothers and sisters to experience the richness that is a relationship with God. We must depart from our comfort zone and go deeper in our faith, and allow Christ to take care of rest.

You have heard me say before that is not enough to just come to Church. We must be transformed. We must, as the name of our Church suggests, be transfigured in our life for the glory of God. Just as Simon allowed Jesus to use him and was transformed, we will be transformed when we allow Jesus to use us. Jesus said, “From now on you will catch men.” (Luke 5.10) Jesus changed Simon’s life and He will change our lives as well.

Peter, James and John together witnessed the miracle catch of fish in this morning’s Gospel. They also were we blessed to witness the Glorious Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. Our Church has been named in honor of this Great Feast. It will be a beautiful tribute to the name of our Church when we too are transfigured because we allowed Christ to use us for His Glory.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is my fervent prayer that our Community can rest peacefully each night rather than be tormented by the unknown of what tomorrow might bring. Let’s launch our boat, our ναός, into the deep water of Faith in Jesus Christ and rededicate on a daily basis ourselves and our Church to the teaching of Christ’s Gospel. He will take care of the rest. We will be transfigured and we will become fishers of men.

1 comment:

magda said...

I really liked this one, especially "God comforts us every day when He sees our anxiety."