One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.
He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
So, they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”
So, they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.
Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.
When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”
Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.
But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and “sinners’?”
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?
But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.
And no one pours new wine into old wine skins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined.
No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins.
And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”


Gospel of the four fishermen called as disciples has as its emphasis the dialogue between Christ and Simon Peter which speaks to you and me today. Consider the dynamics: Christ tells Peter to interrupted his daily activity which he does under obedience. He overcomes self-doubt and launches into the deep, at the word of the Lord, whereupon they catch a high number of fish. Peter’s reaction: “depart from me, for I’m a sinful man, oh Lord” . The Lord’s response: “do not be afraid. For now, you will catch men.”
• In order to become co-workers with Christ for salvation we need to be transformed. The greatest limitation to spiritual development is fear. As parents, we reassure our children: “do not be afraid”. Our children listen to us because they trust us. Then, through experience, they realize their fear was baseless – but until that point is reached the fear is real and tangible. It is like that with each one of us. We all have our own unique fears which are not possible to overcome alone. However, if we listen to our Father in heaven, and He tells us not to be afraid then we can trust Him, and through Him, disarm our fears.
• This requires more daring than you may think. It is as if we are on the high-flying trapeze without any safety net and without any harness. We are told that all we have to do is let go of the bar and leap into space in trust and confidence that we will be caught by someone or something we cannot see. To jump into the abyss into the arms of the living God who cannot be seen or touched or felt requires great daring. It requires great courage to overcome our fear. Yet that is precisely what we need to do to join the side of Christ.
• So, here is the thing: unless we believe in the Word we remain deep in our sins and are trapped by our very fear. To believe in the Word means to trust the Word. Without trust in the word we cannot become fishers of men. Through grace, both the fish and the fishermen are capable of salvation. Through Christ, the fish are placed in the ark of the boat which is the church. The church may well be battered and bruised from time to time by the elements of secularism that raise waves of criticism. But the boat itself will never sink. It is the Holy Spirit guiding the ark of salvation, through Christ, to the Father that is the promise for salvation.