22nd Week, Thursday, Sept 3

1 Cor 3:18-23 / Luke 5:1-11
Paul speaks about wisdom: The world's wisdom is nonsense to God. 
St. John Vianney was considered a dunce, a bit stupid or budhu as we say in India by his schoolteachers. The only reason he got through the seminary was because he was pushed through. When he arrived at his first parish, the pastor thought him too stupid to preach. But the bishop had more insight. He moved the young priest and made him pastor of a small village called Ars. 
The young priest did such a remarkable job that people began coming from all over France and beyond to hear him preach and to be absolved by him in the sacrament of Reconciliation. St. John was canonized in 1925 and made patron of parish priests. He is a living example that the world's wisdom is nonsense in God's sight. 
Introduction: Below the surface of Paul’s ironical remark there is a great problem: The problem of nature and grace, of human and divine truth. There is no conflict between human wisdom and divine truth. There may be a conflict of wisdom that excludes God and wants only to bolster human pride in a philosophy that does not take the orientation of its statements from the Word of God. These philosophers do not bother that God is not convinced by their argument. God has given man the intellect to think with, and to think correctly. Grace - and the Word of God - does not destroy nature, it accepts nature and perfects it. The greater the gifts of nature, the more can God’s grace perfect. God has accepted human nature and perfections when he became man in Christ. "We belong to Christ and Christ to God".
How do we tend to evaluate people— by the world's standards or by God's standard? " 'My thoughts,' says the LORD, 'are not like yours; and my ways are different from yours.' " Isaiah 55:8 
It is not that easy to always do what you are told. From our childhood days, whenever we are told to do something, especially something we don't really like, we have a tendency to question and to argue. More so when we think we know what is right, then all the more we wouldn't want others to tell us what to do. And it would be also more likely that we would be telling others what to do.

In the gospel, Peter faced a situation of a carpenter-preacher telling him, a professional fisherman, where to fish. There is a tinge of protest when Peter said they had worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But he was also submissive enough to do what Jesus told him to. Peter was open enough to do as Jesus instructed maybe because he had earlier heard Jesus preaching from his boat. There was something spiritual in what Jesus said that echoed in the depths of his being that he decided to do what Jesus told him. And it was a decision that led to a revelation.

For Peter it was a revelation of divine wisdom, and that was proven by the great catch of fish. And as the 1st reading tells us, if we think we are wise in the ordinary sense of the word, then we would probably have missed the moments of revelation of divine wisdom. Even though we may be competent enough to know what we are doing, let us also be like Peter and to be open to what Jesus wants to reveal to us. Wisdom is to know that we don't know everything, and that many a time our ways are not God's ways. May we be humble enough to keep learning what Jesus is teaching us.
Reflection: Jesus methodically prepares the establishment of the Church. His sermons and miracles have this one aim. Jesus clearly knows what he is aiming at, Peter is not aware of it. In the synagogue, he witnessed the exorcism of the possessed. In his own house, he was present for the cure of his mother-in-law, and in the evening, in front of his house he saw how Jesus healed the sick. And now, Jesus preached from the boat of Peter. Peter is near to Jesus and distant from the people. Two demands Jesus holds out and makes him do. He demands obedience of faith, especially when it is difficult for Peter to obey. "Put out your nets for a catch". His experience told Peter the time was wrong. Yet, he obeyed. "If you say so", he said. There followed the miraculous catch. The second thing he wants: his disciple must be convinced of his place before God. He is a sinful man before the all-holy God. This is called humility. Once Jesus is sure of these two attitudes, he can send him. He sent him to be a fisher of men, the task of the missionary. Missionaries are often told by their government there can be no mass conversion. Jesus did not share this opinion. Jesus taught them to fish with the net, not only with the hook. "They left everything and followed him."
Let us pray:
Holy God of our happiness, you entrust your good news of life to weak and fallible people. Fill us with the strength of your Holy Spirit, that we may be ready to speak your message with the language of our life. Let Jesus your Son work with us and in us, that each of us may have the courage to say: Here I am, Lord, send me as your messenger to share your glad tidings of happiness with all who are willing to listen. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen