Depart From Me, Lord

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Are you walking in a manner worthy of the Lord? That’s a phrase we see in our first reading today from Colossians 1. My sense tells me that you would answer no to that question. I know I would. But are you still walking? Are you still trying your best to accomplish God’s will, even though you are not worthy? I hope so. And that leads us to our Gospel reading.

In the Gospel reading from Luke 5, we see a miraculous catch of fish. After fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus has the disciples go back out and fish some more. They caught so many fish that their nets were tearing. This stuns the disciples. Simon Peter’s reaction always moves me. His words are how I so often feel. “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” He knew that he was not worthy to be in the presence of Jesus. But Jesus responds, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

The last line of today’s reading says it all. “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.” Simon Peter and the others did not have to follow Jesus. Simon Peter could have let his feelings of unworthiness overtake him. Many people do. They end with, “Depart from me, Lord!” They never make it to following Him. Peter could have become dejected and fallen into despair. Oh, I’m not good enough…I’ll never make it as an Apostle. But he didn’t. He knew that Jesus’ strength could overcome his weaknesses; that he was unworthy to follow Jesus – and yet he did. Do you?

Father, we thank you for calling us to be fishers of men. Help us not to fall into despair and dwell on our own weakness, but on the strength of Jesus. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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