In today’s Gospel the miraculous catch of fish prefigures the ministry to people which is the mission of all the Baptised; Lay, Religious and Ordained. From our different vantage points within the church we are to become fishers of people. We are, in the words of Jesus, to “Catch Them”. In the Gospel passage, the literal catch of fish tears the nets. Our mission within the church will be filled with equal success if we are prepared to put out into the deep. This means steady and unfaltering conviction. By commitment and teaching, preaching and example by going the extra mile in service we go out into the deep of our time and place. Such life style will accomplish the miraculous catch. The question arises as to why we seek to “Catch” people? We find the answer to this question in the Second Reading 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. where Paul puts before us the mystery of our dignity; “Christ died for our sins, … He was buried and was raised to life on the third day”. It is into awareness of what the Death and Resurrection of Jesus means for humanity that we seek to bring our brothers and sisters. This is the premier reason for all ministry in the life of the Church. In bringing people into awareness of this mystery we will haul our full and broken nets unto the shore of eternal love, the shore of Resurrection, the shore where all human broken flesh is healed and transfigured. In the First reading we find Isaiah’s vision of God, surrounded by seraphs in the smoke-filled temple. In this vision as he senses his mission to call others into awareness of God, he immediately falters “What a wretched state I am in, I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips”. In the Second reading, Paul is also filled with the sense of being unworthy for his mission “Last of all, He appeared to me… I am the least of the Apostles…I hardly deserve the name Apostle”. In the Gospel, after the miraculous catch, Peter also glimpses the Glory of God, this time not in the smoke of the temple but on the face of Christ; he falls to his knees in Godly awareness but seeks to avoid the reality of his mission “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man”.
Many people falter at the very thought of being called into ministry in God’s Church but God is calling us and the ocean is deep and generosity demands that we pay out our nets for a catch. Consideration of Isaiah is apt to make us generous, “Here I am Lord, send me”. In our efforts we will not be alone. The burning coal touched the mouth of Isaiah. The voice of Christ touches the heart of Peter, Paul relies not on his own strength but on the grace of God. The grace of Baptism is with us. Be not afraid.