5th Sun C
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
In contrast to Matthew and Mark’s Gospels, Luke has significantly different sequence for the early ministry of Jesus. In those other synoptics, and indeed in the Gospel of John, the call of Simon and the first disciples takes place before Jesus begins his preaching ministry proper. But in Luke, Jesus has already had success in the Galilean countryside, rejection in Nazareth, and even more success in Capernaum and the Judean countryside before he calls his first disciples. Rather, it is on the lake of Gennesaret, when he is virtually being pushed into the water by the eager crowds that he gives the dramatic sign that transforms the lives of Simon Peter and his companions. It seems almost a chance encounter, as Jesus steps into Simon’s boat. In asking Simon to push out from shore, he makes Simon a captive listener. Simon’s attitude of listening and openness continues even when Jesus gives the order to go fishing again. Respectfully, Simon gives the practical reasons of an experienced fisherman but he is still open to the lead of this charismatic preacher.
Simon’s response at the overwhelming catch is in the biblical tradition of one experiencing the mystery of God. Like Isaiah, he feels his profound inadequacy which he names as ‘sinful’ though no sin has obviously taken place here. Short of walking on water, Jesus can hardly depart. But Jesus takes no notice of Peter’s humble stance, or rather, he probably sees it as a most necessary attribute for one who is to become a fisher of ‘people’. The word Jesus uses for ‘catch’ is a Greek verb for ‘catching’ that is not going to end in death, as in ordinary fishing, but rather in further life. This is so fitting for this section of the Gospel that has so much abundance – large eager crowds, overflowing catches of fish, the ready response of faith that is prepared to leave everything to follow this alluring preacher.