Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (5: 1-11) in which Jesus calls his first disciples, who were fishermen, and tells them ‘Do not be afraid, from now on you it is men you will catch’.
Fr Paul notes there were several different versions in the early Church, and in the scriptures, of the call of the first disciples.
In Mark and Matthew’s Gospels, Jesus is passing along the shore of the lake when he calls two pairs of disciples.
In Mark’s Gospel, the fishermen have never seen Jesus and follow him blindly.
In John’s Gospel, the call of the disciples takes place where John the Baptist was preaching.
In Luke’s Gospel that we hear today, Peter and his friends have already got to know Jesus before they are called. In the story Luke has many similarities to the story at the end of John’s Gospel after the Resurrection, when the risen Christ calls Peter: after a night of failed fishing, followed by a huge catch in obedience to Jesus’ instructions. The Church has always seen this as a sign of the need for obedience to Christ.
Luke’s version also has the same play on words as in Mark and Matthew’s gospel – words about fishing for people.
Fr Paul says a special feature in Luke is Peter’s cry that he is an unworthy sinner. Luke often teaches us that no one can be a disciple of Jesus without first admitting their sinfulness: Zacchaeus the tax-collector, and the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet are other examples.
Fr Paul again notes, the Church has always seen the call of the disciples as a sign of the need for obedience to Christ.
For our reflection today, Fr Paul asks, ‘How obedient am I to Christ’s call in my life?’