Feb. 10, 2019 [ 05 Sunday & Parish Feast ]
• Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8 • Psalm 138 • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 • + Luke 5:1-11 •
Title: Nothing But Net
[_01_] The title of this homily is NOTHING BUT NET, “nothing but a net”. Peter has nothing but a net, to drop into the water. He drops his net, lowers his net and pulls up a miraculous catch of fish.
Last week, remember it was the Super Bowl.
This is what happens when many of us watch the Super Bowl NFL football championship on TV.
Everyone wants to turn the volume up during the commercials. We leave the room when the game is being played but return when the commercials come on. And the commercials are very expensive from Amazon, Pepsi, Verizon.
Super Bowl ads are expected to be extraordinary, so much so that we are not really interested in what Tom Brady is doing on the last day of the season and more likely to turn the volume up and pay more attention to the screen during a time-out and commercial.
I recommend Amazon’s Alexa ad with Harrison Ford and a smart canine / dog barking into the Alexa smart-speaker to order her own dinner.
In any case, what is ordinary becomes extraordinary.
[_02_] Now, all of us like success, right.
We are drawn to the Super Bowl not only as an example of who is going to succeed and thrive on the field but also who is going to thrive and succeed by getting their message out there and who is doing so in the most creative way possible.
But some Super Bowl ads / commercials almost do not make it, they almost get canceled or canceled out.
I use this as an example because – in the Gospel - Peter feels like he is not going to make it.
An example of such a near cancellation – of being cancelled and excluded was in 1984, the most legendary of all Super Bowl advertisements was from 1984 when Apple Computer was advertising the original Macintosh computer.
Ironically, when Apple Computer Company managers / executives saw the advertisement, they disliked it very much and insisted that the ad NEVER be shown on television.
Eventually, Apple/Macintosh managers board agreed but it was quite a fight, internally at Apple, to get that ad ..which has later been regarded as one of the best ads of all time. And, it almost never made it to TV.
The message almost never got out…
[*** pause ***]
[_03_] Peter the Apostle is a fisherman. But, Jesus believes he is – can be and will be – a fisherman with a message, with the message of the Good News of the Gospel and that people will tune and listen to Peter.
Peter disagrees. At least not right now. Peter believes he is not ready for prime time, telling our Lord to whom he spoke in the Gospel today. Peter has great respect for Jesus’ teaching for his holiness and we might say the “technology” of his miracles.
Jesus can even find fish without a video screen or GPS.
But, Jesus also recognized something in Peter of value. Jesus recognizes also that he himself – Jesus of Nazareth – was forming this group of disciples – just as he continues to form us … to be his presence here – on Eagle Rock Avenue, at the Mississippi Avenue bus loop, in the parking lot, on the way home, at school … it is a 24 hour Good News Cycle of the Gospel.
Peter, however, is feeling scared – nervous – about what is to come next. We may resemble Peter… in real life.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote that …. “And at some point on the journey, we may have had the same experience as Peter after the miraculous catch; in other words, we may have been frightened by its size, by the size of the task and by the inadequacy of our own poor selves, so that we wanted to turn back. "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5: 8).” (Chrism Mass, St. Peter's Basilica Benedict XVI, Holy Thursday, 13 April 2006)
For Peter, the task also seems to be too costly, too expensive.
He is ordinary, can he really be the speaker and “broadcaster” of such a message?
[_04_] We might say that Peter is a person who is NOTHING BUT NET.
Now, in the sport of basketball where there is backboard, rim, and white cord ‘basket’ 10 feet above the floor as the place to score points, “nothing but net” is good news.
It means your shot went in perfectly.
But, now we are talking about fishing. Nothing but net is also a reason for Jesus to select Peter, to call Peter. He knows how to use a net.
It is Peter’s skill with a net that is going to enable to continue – in the future – perhaps when the net is empty.
Because, of course, Peter is not going to be successful and applauded everywhere he goes.
At times, the net may be empty. Peter has nothing but net.
But, the Gospel miracle teaches Peter – and you and me – that Jesus is going to guide us to where the quote-unquote “fish” are, to where our mission is… we just need to bring the net.
The fish symbolize something, what we need to find or discover in our lives –
►repentance the admission of our own wrongdoing we need to do.
►forgiveness – the mercy we need to extend to someone.
►goodness – the goodness we are called to find in another person.
Jesus will help us to find it.
We just need to bring our regular skills, God will do the rest.
And, it’s not simply about DOING, but about our presence, our IDENTITY and God’s presence in our lives.
[_05_] This is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, day for us to pray for healing for ourselves, for others and to recall that God is love and the image of God is alive in others, even if they are not “doing” or “acting” as we expect.
We just need to bring our nets, ourselves, our presence.
This example was meaningful to me, from several years ago.
A few years ago, my friend’s mother was suffering from cognitive memory loss, and Alzheimer’s.
No longer did she recognize her son (my friend) or her daughters by name. She really did not know her own name.
Nevertheless, my friend came to believe – this was his profession of faith – that he would go to visit his mother not because “my mom knows who I am” but because “I know who my mom is.”
Bring your net. Bring what you have, bring who you are. This is the constant, together with God’s love in our lives.
A constant that invites us to love our own mothers and fathers not only for what they do – day to to day – but for who they are.
A constant that invites grown-up’s and parents and teachers to love our children not only for what they “know” or “do” but because of what we know they can do, because we know who they are.
A constant that invited Jesus Himself to lay down His life for our sins and to give us also our Blessed Mother as intercessor, a guardian and help to us to show mercy and love for others.
Notre Dame de Lourdes, priez pour nousOur Lady of Lourdes, pray for us. [_fin_]