It is not my intention to be, in any way, sadistic but notice is given that

ASH WEDNESDAY is merely three days away. Why do I choose to give this reminder? TODAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 5: 1 – 11] provides the answer. The temptation for many of us is to use the Lenten Season as the time for reestablishing our discipleship instead of the opportunity it provides us to strengthen it. We strengthen what should be real and already there. The success and achievement of Lent are to be seen in the honing and fine-tuning of a reality which is sure, steady, and already a part of us.

We have to accept that the Lord’s call to discipleship has to be heard and responded to before Lent begins. He had taught the people from Simon’s boat and afterwardsspeaks personally and directly to Simon. We need to accept that the fisherman had also heard the teaching Jesus had given. He had been in the boat with the Lord. They were, as the old saying goes, together in the same boat.

AM I IN THE SAME BOAT, TOGETHER, WITH JESUS?

There must have been something about this man and his teaching that motivated Simon to accede to Jesus’ request for to

“put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” At once we need to know that we build our discipleship on HIS TEACHING. The two elements should never be separated. It is impossible (as some try) to accept Jesus as a ‘great and good guy’ without accepting his teaching. It is his TEACHING which becomes the foundation of our acceptance of him as Lord, Christ and Saviour.

Our Gospel extract tells us that Simon’s immediate past efforts had produced nothing but

“at your word I will let down the nets.” My own personal experience teaches that there are regular occasions when I have let down the nets but caught nothing. The same experience, on reflection, has also taught me that too often I have not taken the Lord with me – we have not been together in the same boat. The teaching I have given has been good and true but the nets had been let down without him. On the other hand, when I have taken HIM on board with me, the results have been quite satisfying – even if not spectacular. We all have to learn that I must hear HIM and his TEACHING – AND TAKE BOTH IN MY BOAT. Remember that it was Simon’s boat.

There is a further lesson for us to learn from this incident. The request of Jesus started with the words

“put out into the deep ….” Too many Christians spend their time paddling at the water’s edge, while others never venture further than up to their calves. They never really get deep enough to actually swim. Real discipleship only happens when we put out into the deep. We are called to be sent.

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