If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Second Sunday of Lent 2013

Second  Sunday of Lent (C)
(Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:20–4:1; Luke 9:28-36)

Today’s Gospel is replete with teaching about Jesus.  Notice first of all that: 

While Jesus was praying, His face changed in appearance, and His clothing became dazzling white.  And behold, two men were conversing with Him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His exodus which He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. 

The meaning is clear.  Moses the Lawgiver and Elijah the most charismatic figure among the OT prophets were speaking with Jesus about His imminent exodus, Passover, in Jerusalem; thereby telling us that the Law and the Prophets of Israel were indeed, at their deepest level and in accordance with the intention and purpose of their supreme Author, speaking of and preparing for Jesus.  We can  therefore, and indeed we always should, with humble confidence and deep gratitude, seek to learn from the foreshadowing of Jesus to be found in the writings of the Old Testament.

God spoke frequently to Moses from the cloud which accompanied Israel throughout her desert wanderings:

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain … and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”  Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain.  Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.  The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.  So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain.  And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.  (Exodus 24:12, 15-18)

In some such way Moses was taught by God throughout Israel’s journeying to the Promised Land.  Notice, however, that here in our Gospel reading, God the Father -- again speaking from the cloud -- told the disciples Peter, James and John:

            This is My chosen (beloved) Son.  Hear Him!

That would seem to imply that no longer would there be a voice speaking from the heavenly cloud to the new Israel, but that the words of Jesus Himself would be all that could be needed.  Indeed, the Father’s words would seem to proclaim Jesus as God, speaking for, on behalf of, and with the authority of, the Father Himself.

There is yet more, however.  Those final two words Hear Him contain and convey a command for all Christians, meaning ‘hear and obey’.  There, indeed, we have the first of all commandments for Christians, a command which Jesus Himself confirmed:

If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

However, those words of the Father convey much more than a mere commandment to hear and obey Jesus; there is also an invitation -- a most intimate invitation indeed -- to know Him in such a way as to love Him; love Him, that is, not simply according to our own measure but in obedience to, together with, and in imitation of, the Father Himself.  Although Jesus, for His own part, is most humble, being well-satisfied if we keep His commandments, which are, for Him, sufficient proof of our authentic love, in it’s initial stages at least; nevertheless, those words of the  Father, not only indicate the extent of His love for, and appreciation of, His Son -- ‘My beloved Son’ -- but also, surely, express His desire that those privileged to hear Him should also learn to love Him as the Father Himself loves Him.  Indeed, there is even an implication that the only true knowledge of Jesus is one which promotes such appreciation of Him, that calls for, sustains and nourishes, and ultimately demands supreme, all-consuming, love for Him:

            This is My chosen (beloved) Son. Hear Him! 

If we now turn our attention back to the first reading where:

Abram put his faith in the Lord, Who credited it to him as an act of righteousness;

that initial faith of childless Abram, soon to be named Abraham and destined to become the father of Isaac and Jacob needed, in the meantime, to be strengthened for his own imminent trials and also for those of all who would subsequently rejoice in his blessing:

The LORD said to Abram: ‘Know for certain that your descendants shall be aliens in a land not their own, where they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.   But I will bring judgment on the nation they must serve, and in the end they will depart with great wealth.  You, however, shall join your forefathers in peace; you shall be buried at a contented old age.’  (Genesis 15:13-15)

Therefore, as an unforgettable support for such enduring faith in Abram himself and subsequently in Israel, Abram was given – as you heard -- a mysterious vision with a sublime promise.   Abram himself had had some part to play in that vision, for he had brought the animals called for by the Lord, then prepared and arranged their corpses in accordance with his native Chaldean covenantal prescriptions; and had then stayed beside them to protect their integrity as sacrifices until such time as the Lord God Himself had appeared, under the same fiery symbol He would later use again in the incidents of the burning bush with Moses, the column of fire guiding Israel through the desert of Sinai, and ultimately the tongues of fire descending on the disciples of Jesus at Pentecost.  

When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those (sacrificial) pieces.

Such was the awesome background to the Lord’s words of covenantal sustenance for Abram’s faith: 

To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the Euphrates.

Abram -- subsequently named Abraham – lived St. Paul’s exhortation in our second reading to the utmost, stand(ing) firm in the Lord,  and thereby meriting the title of ‘our father in faith’.  Let us, therefore, keep our eyes firmly on him whose faith in God’s promise was so mysteriously confirmed by the Lord’s fiery self-manifestation -- as fire-pot for food and flaming torch for light -- passing between the orderly, sacrificial pieces of flesh set up by Abraham; for, would not Jesus Himself subsequently say to the Jews:
Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see My day; he saw it and was glad.  (John 8:56)

Let us keep our eyes even more firmly fixed on Mary, whose supreme faith in God’s promise was likewise tested and confirmed: initially by the awesome mystery of the Lord’s conception at the Incarnation, before being ultimately crowned when her heart was pierced by the sword as her dearest Son and sovereign Lord suffered His bloody Passion and Death on Calvary.

Blessed is she who believed that what the Lord had promised her would be fulfilled.

Yes we should closely observe and carefully imitate both Abraham and Mary, that  we ourselves may consider with delight and observe with love the supreme mystery of the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection likewise given us here at Mass for our enduring confirmation and constant growth in the faith we have received from God the  Father.  He it was Who first drew us to Jesus, and today He renews His choice by calling us once more this Sunday to hear His Son speaking clearly and surely to us in and through His Church; and to learn, by the Spirit – the hidden and abiding treasure of our Communion at Mass -- to share yet more in the Father’s own love for His beloved Son, our self-sacrificing Lord and Saviour. 

People of God, there is no faith without promises, there is no faith without mystery; and our Christian faith, in its ultimate awareness of and response to the totality of human nature and experience, expresses divine goodness through unimaginable -- yet supremely desirable and fulfilling, -- promises together with unfathomable -- yet most satisfying and credible -- mysteries.   There, indeed, lies an inescapable tension, but it is one designed not for our destruction but for the ever-continuing and harmonious development of all our human capabilities given us in the ‘image and likeness of God’.

Promises and mystery are not to the liking of modern secular society where tangible, controllable, and immediately profitable activities and experiences are sought at every level.  All too often, for such people, as St. Paul said in the second reading and as our daily experience tends to confirm ever more emphatically:

Their God is their stomach, their glory is in their shame.  Their minds are occupied with earthly things, and their end is destruction.

For us, however:

Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will change our lowly body to conform with His glorified body.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, stand firm in the Lord.    

Saturday, 16 February 2013

First Sunday of Lent 2013

First Sunday of Lent (C)
(Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13)

Since the Lord Jesus came to lead us in the fight against sin and death, against the devil panoplied in power and pride, it was fitting that He be tempted for our sake and on our behalf.
Immediately before beginning His public ministry He was – for our sake -- tempted in the desert after John’s baptism and there His inviolable sinlessness as the incarnate Son of God was made manifest to His adversary.  In His Passion and Death on Calvary He would once again be tempted – this time on our behalf -- as the totally selfless Son of Man and Lamb of God; that, in His ultimate triumph over the devil and death, He might win for us grace to work with Him and by His Spirit, for our salvation and the glory of the Father Who originally created us and eternally loves us as His adopted children in Jesus, His most beloved Son.  

Now, if we look carefully at Our Blessed Lord’s temptations in the desert in today’s Gospel reading, we can recognize the broad outlines of temptation faced by humankind everywhere; for the devil tempts men, women, yes, and even children, first of all, through their earthly appetites, just as he did with Jesus when he said:

            If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.

They are very many who succumb to this first sort of temptation as they pander to their appetites for food, alcohol, sex, and pleasures and satisfactions of all sorts. Yet, there are many who will overcome, or at least resist for a time, this “common” sort of weakness, until the next big hurdle -- the temptations offered to personal pride by the indulgence of self-will and the exercise of power and authority -- bring them crashing to the ground:

The devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him: All this authority I will give You, and their glory, if You will worship before me.

Some few, however, might not readily succumb to even such temptations; and, being neither overwhelmed by sensual pleasures, nor proudly eager to exercise power or authority over others, they may not even strive to be seen as most talented, acknowledged as most capable, admired as most popular.

Nevertheless, because all human beings are, in one way or another, sinful, these remaining few will ultimately succumb to the last temptation experienced by Jesus in the desert:

(The devil) brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 

There we have the temptation most closely corresponding with the devil’s own character, the temptation to spiritual pride, that is, to self-proclaiming holiness.

And so we have these three: pleasure, in its myriad forms, including even idleness; and pride, both worldly and spiritual; these are the sins of humankind throughout the ages.

But what about those human weaknesses of despondency and fear which inhibit so many by persuading them to hide, or even shut themselves away, so that nothing can either be expected from them or asked of them?

In one sense this last failing is the worst of all; for, what can be done with one who refuses to move?  Someone going in the wrong direction can be redirected; anyone who is faltering on the way can be encouraged and strengthened; and those who are seeking -- but confess themselves to be puzzled and uncertain -- can be enlightened; but what can be done for someone who has no desire to be, or to do, anything other than to remain undisturbed, sit cosy, and hold tight? 

The sins of pleasure are a perverted acknowledgement of the divine truth that creation is truly beautiful and we are not self-sufficient; for, without repeated injections of contrived and distorted satisfactions of whatever sort, such sinners find themselves deeply unhappy and unfulfilled.  Likewise, the sins of pride are a testimony to our God-given human potential for advancement and improvement of all sorts: and indeed, at times, sinners of that sort show great human ingenuity and skill, expend enormous energy and make great endeavours, in order to satisfy that most foolish and insatiable of all passions: self-aggrandizement.   On the other hand, however, the despondency and fear which can paralyze a human being and prevent him or her doing anything with their life, bears no witness -- either negative or positive -- to our human dignity or our divine calling; indeed, it tends to rob us of our authentic human character, since it is of the essence of human kind that, being made in the image and likeness of God, they are destined for fulfilment and, indeed, called to seek and to find it eternally with Him.
And so, whilst the sins of pleasure staining our modern society are a clear sign that many are painfully aware of their own emptiness and need for fulfilment; and whilst the proud, likewise, give positive, albeit twisted and deeply vitiated, testimony to the calling and gifts with which mankind has been endowed; the inertia of the despondent and the fearful, on the other hand -- entertaining no hope for fulfilment and passively contenting themselves with the little they have – are witnesses to nothing other than the weak and the piteous state of our fallen nature.
Our readings today have shown us something of humanity’s sins and failings, and perhaps that has already helped to set us on the way to health by spurring us to hate our lustfulness and pride and to despise our despondency and fear.  Can they help us further in our needs?  Do they hold yet further guidance and grace for us?

Let us think back to our first reading and, learning from it, begin to appreciate and give expression to that most beautiful and praiseworthy virtue, gratitude, which springs up so naturally in the human heart, unless that heart has been rendered insensitive by the cares and concerns of deep-rooted selfishness.

Gratitude is a most beautiful virtue: its “innocence” gladdens both the recipient and the giver, for true gratitude is not, and cannot be, concocted; neither is it a virtue only for those who are specially talented, since it wells up freely and spontaneously from the depths of our common humanity.

The Lord brought us out of Egypt with strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders; and bringing us into this country, He gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.  Therefore I have now brought you the first-fruits of the land which you, Lord, have given me.

One of the easiest and surest ways to find joy in the Lord, then, is to be grateful for all the blessings of life, be they big or small.  Above all, try to offer your Mass, and your communion with Jesus at Mass, with gratitude to God in your heart.

Next, we can learn something from St. Paul’s teaching in the second reading, for so often people make relations with God difficult for themselves.  They imagine God is demanding this and that from them when really He is not demanding anything but simply seeking to lead them, gradually, further along the way from wherever they may presently find themselves, to the fullness of happiness and eternal life.  

Now, you in Church today have come here believing – mind and heart – in Jesus; and hopefully you have learned to appreciate and want to express gratitude for the salvation He opens up before you.  Learn then, from St. Paul, and undertake to confess with your mouth that gratitude you acknowledge as due from you

For, one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 

People of God, this is a teaching you can and should begin to put into action here at Mass!  Don’t just stand or sit with your mouth closed and your heart dull; if you do not confess God here you will never confess Him outside before others who do not believe.  If you put your heart into the Creed, the hymns, the responses at Mass, if you confess with your mouth in that way, you will show yourselves as worthy to be gradually led to speak up, when it is necessary so to do, before those who do not believe, or even mock.  Don’t imagine for yourself seemingly impossible acts of public witness being demanded of you on leaving Church this day; try to praise God wholeheartedly here and now, and He may gradually lead you -- if you are worthy -- to confess with your mouth before others when the Spirit wants such witness of you.  He will never demand what you cannot give: He will – if you are willing and worthy -- lead and encourage you first, and then, only ask you when you are able.  Indeed, you will probably not even be aware that you are being asked, it will seem so natural for you to respond to the Spirit’s call when you have become accustomed to confessing gratitude with your mouth here at Mass.

Finally, we should have boundless confidence in God.  St. Paul reminded us:

Scripture says, "No one who believes in Him will be put to shame."   

The Israelites, miserable and weak slaves though they were, were led out of Egypt, despite the power of Pharaoh’s army, because they trusted in the Lord who had spoken to Moses; they endured through the desert -- the waterless, stony, desert -- because they trusted in the Lord was speaking to them through Moses.  Moses was a man who, though born a Hebrew, had been brought up as an Egyptian.  The Lord had called and inspired him to lead Israel into freedom; and, because Moses had been sent by God and knew the Egyptians, under his leadership the Hebrew slaves learned confidence to trust their God and face up to the Egyptians.  

Now, surely we can trust Jesus!  He is, indeed, the Son of God and, since He is also most truly one of us, His Spirit knows how to guides us heavenwards along ways that -- in Him and with Him -- are no longer impossible for us.  That is why He is always wanting and seeking to lead us on and up to ever better, higher, and greater things; and that is also why the idleness that aspires only to sit cosy and hold tight is so unacceptable to Him.   For, despite all our fears, despite our natural weakness, God has made us for Himself and in Jesus He has overcome for us all the trials and temptations that can come our way.  Take confidence, therefore, and trust in the Lord and the Spirit He has bestowed on us: sing psalms and offer prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving in your life, and you will find them developing quickly into a joyful antiphon of witness and praise springing spontaneously to your lips as you find yourself being led along ways that delight and fulfil you beyond all your dreams.  Then you will indeed thank God for your Catholic Faith which has helped you to believe in Jesus, our Lord and Saviour; to trust in His Spirit, our Advocate and Comforter; and to look forward in hope to the vision and the presence of Him Who is our God and, indeed, our most loving Father.


Saturday, 9 February 2013

5th Sunday of the Year 2013

Fifth Sunday of Year (C)

 (Isaiah 6:1-8; 1st. Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11)

Today, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we should learn from our Scriptural readings something about the spiritual life of a Christian, something essential for any would-be-faithful disciple of Christ, something quite distinct from the good Christian life commonly lauded by the world around us.

In our Gospel reading we heard that:

Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men."

Just as Simon and his companions used a net to catch fish, so Jesus would, He said, use Simon, and with Simon his companions, to catch men.

Notice that People of God, because many today dislike the thought of salvation being mediated to them by other human beings, they object to idea of owing their salvation to God’s goodness in Christ and through the Church: they want to have a direct personal relationship with God or with Jesus the Saviour.  They think that in their case God should catch them as does some fresh-water fisherman who goes to the edge of the river and feeling under the rocks or the bank catches hold of one fish in his hand: that is how God personally seeks and saves them, they like to think.  They cannot stomach a Church, Peter’s Church, a human organisation, being used, like some vast net, to catch them along with numberless others over the ages.  They do not want to feel humble and grateful before a universal Mother Church, and they positively refuse to obey a human authority such as the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.  And yet, it cannot be denied that Jesus did indeed say to Simon:

            Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.

That refusal of many to accept the One True Church of Christ, their denial of Peter, established by Jesus as the Rock of the Church and the Shepherd of His sheep, is an expression of the human and worldly pride of modern man, and a prominent characteristic of the false religious spirit abroad in our times.  There are other aspects too that our readings clarify for us today, aspects that are more abject than proud, but no less harmful to the true Christian spirit, no less destructive of life with and for God in Jesus.

In the first reading we heard how Isaiah had the remarkable vision of God in the glory of His holiness and majesty:

I saw the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne, with the train of His  garment filling the temple.  Seraphim were stationed above.  They cried one to the other, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!  All the earth is filled with His glory!" 

That would be enough to fill any human being with awesome fear and humble reverence; however, we are told that Isaiah:

heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send?  Who will go for Us?"  "Here I am,” he said, “send me!"  

Does that not seem to be somewhat presumptuous on the part of Isaiah?  Does not the worldly picture of the good Christian involve the humble recital of words such as “I am not worthy”?
Let us now turn to St. Paul and observe his behaviour, for he tells us that:

Jesus was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.  Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

Now, some of the Corinthians to whom Paul was writing were inclined to denigrate him: who was he, after all?  Everybody knew about Peter individually and the group of Twelve Apostles who travelled far and wide spreading the Gospel, and then, of course, there was James the brother of the Lord and head of the Church in Jerusalem.  Who was this fellow Paul in comparison with them?  As you heard, Paul was the first to admit that he did not have the supreme authority of Peter, nor he was one of the original Twelve.  But whatever his detractors might say or think, Paul would not shrink before them: he confidently asserted, “Jesus, appeared to me also “.   And not only did He appear to Paul, He also chose to send Paul on a mission; in other words, he, Paul, was indeed an Apostle, one sent by the risen Lord to proclaim the Gospel: and he had been sent to the Gentiles, to Corinth, with that Good News.  “No matter what some of you may think”, he was saying to the Corinthians, “I am an Apostle, indeed, I am your Apostle”

For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. (1Corinthians 4:15)

So in our readings today we have not only Isaiah pushing himself forward “Send me!” but also Paul is seen fighting verbally to have himself recognised as an Apostle.
This was most important for Paul because, even in the very early Church, it was the Twelve who were, then as now, acknowledged to be of supreme importance.  Then came apostles, those disciples of Jesus, that is, who had seen the Risen Lord (cf. 1st. Corinthians 15:80), and who had subsequently been sent (Apostle means “one sent”).  In the beginning of his work Paul had been sent on his first missionary voyage together with Barnabas by the Spirit through the church at Antioch.  But it was Paul himself who had subsequently been guided and decided by the Spirit to set out on his second with Silas as his chosen companion, before undertaking his third and final missionary journey. 

Paul did not want to be thought of then or remembered later as merely one sent  out by the church of Antioch: he was, he insisted, a true, a full, Apostle.  For, he had – despite his own unworthiness as a persecutor of the Church – originally been chosen by the Risen Lord Jesus Himself to proclaim and suffer for His Name, before being expressly sent by the Spirit of Jesus on his second and third journeys; indeed, on all three journeys, the Gospel he preached and the authority he exercised came from the Risen Lord.  In defence of his missionary standing he even went on, in his second letter to these Corinthians, to sing loudly -- but most affectingly -- his own praises as he compared himself with all other apostles, whoever they might be: the Twelve, or any others accorded the title ‘apostle’ in the Church at that time:

Are they ministers of Christ? -- I speak as a fool -- I am still more, with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. (2 Corinthians 11:23)

People of God, today the popular conception of Jesus and of a ‘good’ Christian is of someone who is nice, never nasty, never pushy, never fighting for self in any way; always smiling at children and patting dogs, always speaking soothing words and totally incapable of condemning sin or punishing evil-doers.  In other words, the world’s picture of a virtuous Christian is colourless, insipid and negative, and so the Gospel is robbed of all challenge, of all its power to inspire and strengthen.  Even the good works done for others become tasteless, because they are human good deeds done for human satisfaction; since they are not directed towards God’s glory, they remain within the orbit of this world, and though they be reproduced over and over again they cannot renew the world … and ultimately are condemned to become ordinary and meaningless, just as the words “I forgive” become trite when they are not spoken in prayer to God (“Father, forgive them”), but rather offered meaninglessly to those who are not in any way either interested in, or asking for, forgiveness.

Since I am saying that the comfortable picture of a ‘good’ life painted by lovers of this world is insipid, do I thereby say that Catholics and Christians should become extremists?  By no means!  Let us look again at Isaiah and Paul.  

In the first reading, the apparently “pushy” Isaiah had had his sin taken away, as  he tells us that:

One of the seraphim (from before God’s throne) flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged." 

So you can begin to appreciate that Isaiah had – most probably -- been in no sense pushy: God had prepared Him for the work and so Isaiah was able to cry out with deepest gratitude and confident zeal in answer to God’s inspiring call.

Look again at St. Paul.  He was fighting to establish his own authority indeed, but only so that the Gospel truth for which he had been commissioned as Apostle to the Gentiles just as Peter was Apostle to the Jews (cf. Galatians 2:7), might not be brought into doubt by others who had more attractive worldly credentials and who were preaching a version of the Gospel which was dependent on the old Jewish understanding whilst failing to appreciate, and fully respond to, the new wine of the Gospel of Christ.  Therefore, Paul was not really fighting for himself, he was fighting for the Gospel entrusted to him by the Risen Lord, the full Gospel for his new converts whom he would not allow to be saddled with the old, worn out, Jewish prescriptions; he was, indeed, fighting for the truth of Christ, the glory of God the Father, and the spiritual fulfilment of his hearers.

Our readings today, People of God, encourage and guide us to authentic spirituality as disciples of Jesus.  We are not to conform to, settle for, the flabby, colourless, “goodness” of those who want to win the approval of modern society and accommodate modern morals, and who want, above all, to avoid the Cross of Christ.  Yet neither are we to seek to make a name for ourselves, striving to be dynamic and contradictory, flaunting authority, and ignoring normal sensibilities.  No, we have to despise both those attitudes: we must not be so weak as to seek the world’s good pleasure; we must not be so proud as to seek our own glory and set our own standards.

Zeal for God and self-forgetfulness, as displayed by Isaiah, easily lead to the world’s mockery, disdain, and contempt; faithfulness to God and courage, as shown by St. Paul, frequently bring down upon themselves criticism, antagonism, and confrontation. 

At the very beginning of His own public ministry Our Blessed Lord made abundantly clear for His specially chosen disciples the attitude they should have with Him, in His service:

Getting onto 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 signalled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.  They came and filled both boats so 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.’

Awareness of their own insufficiency, simple trust and confidence in Jesus’ guidance, grateful commitment to His command, and deepest humility before His Person ..... such were dispositions of the Apostles who left everything and followed Him.

Such dispositions were taught by Jesus at the beginning of His relationship with His specially chosen disciples; and they were most firmly anchored in their minds and hearts when, as St. John tells us, – at the end of their earthly relationship with Him and in His hour of supreme glory -- the Risen Lord appeared to them by the Sea of Tiberias where He found them once again fishing without success; He confirmed His original teaching, foreshadowing still greater fruitfulness for their future labours, and offering the surest hope of unfailing help and eternal reward.

In all things we have to seek to know, love, and obey Jesus. The mode and measure of our holiness is not our’s to produce in consonance with human conceptions, but His to give according to His unsearchable wisdom, inconceivable beauty, and supreme goodness.