Ordinary Time 05, Year C-2010
- Who can stand when he appears? He will sit refining and purifying silver, … refining them like gold or silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord. (Mal. 3:2-3)
Whether one nowadays get an advertised or posted job depends on a host of things. It depends, for instance, not only on whom and what one knows but also on how convincingly one presents oneself to be qualified for the position. Not that Simon Peter was looking for another job, but today’s job market requirements appear not to have applied at all with regard to the fisherman’s turning into a catcher of men.
I doubt that whom Simon knew mattered at all albeit that his boat was used by Jesus as a pulpit and his mother-in-law had earlier been cured by Jesus (Lk. 4:38-39). After all, Jesus—as even those opposed to him would recognized—was not swayed by influence nor did he regard a person’s status or play favorites (Mt. 22:16; Mk. 12:14; Lk. 20:21).
And Simon’s expertise seems to me to have been disregarded when the carpenter told the fisherman, who had worked hard all night and had caught nothing, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Additionally, Simon, seized by awe and wonder because of the huge catch that defied his professional judgment, unambiguously declared himself unqualified. Sensing the presence of the divine and aware, for sure, of the common belief that no one could see God and live, he confessed himself to be a sinful man and asked Jesus to leave him.
Confession of sin, and of unworthiness, lack of status, influence and qualification is required of those who would work for God, for Jesus, and haul in a catch so great that it could tear nets and sink boats (see ). This requirement is illustrated not just in the case of Simon Peter but also in the case of the prophet Isaiah, as we see in the first reading, in the case also of the apostle Paul, in the second reading, and in the cases of so many other God-chosen instruments or agents (Ex. 3:11; 4:1, 10; Jgs. 6:15; Jer. 1:6; Ez. 2:6-8; Lk. 1:34, 48; see ).
Those who confess are given assurance of blessing and courage, while those who, like Adam and Eve, refuse to confess and try to seek cover instead are confronted with curses and much to be afraid of (Ex. 3:7-19). Those who acknowledge they really do not stand a chance if the Lord marks their sins will receive forgiveness from him (Ps. 130:3-4). Those who accept the transparency that the thrice- or all-holy God brings in will be pruned by his word and be proven truly righteous (see Jn. 15:3; 16:7-9). Those who in poverty and humility allow themselves to be stripped naked and left without any cover, will offer with Jesus a pleasing sacrifice, a pure offering, to the Lord, so that from the rising of the sun even to its setting the Lord’s name—not their names—will indeed be great among the nations (see Mal. 1:11).