The Good Word for Sunday February 7th ~ For the complete readings click here.
Have you ever completely failed at something? In 7th grade I tried out for my school’s basketball team. I hadn’t played organized basketball since 3rd grade. I wore a velcro-wristwatch to tryouts. I was relatively short and slow compared to most basketballs players. It didn’t go well. Needless to say I was cut pretty quickly. I tried out again in 8th grade. Same result.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Simon, James, and John. Fishing was their profession and source of income. Fishing was how they fed their families. Working hard all night and then catching nothing must have been a terrible disappointment. For them fishing was literally life or death.
When this stranger, not a local fisherman, tells them to try again, they probably thought he was crazy. Then it happened. They caught so many fish that their nets were ripping – from nothing to great abundance. This advice to persevere and go deeper brought them success.
When they fished without the guidance or presence of Jesus, they failed. When they followed his direction and went into deeper waters, they caught an overabundance. For truly overwhelming results, all they had to do was being willing to listen to Jesus and try again.
The same is true with us and Lent. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some pretty tepid Lenten results. Okay, if I’m honest, I’ve failed at Lent. I don’t mean to say I didn’t keep my Lenten promise, but that my Lenten promise was lame, didn’t really mean anything to me, and didn’t help me grow spiritually. Nothing was different on day 40 of Lent from day 1.
If 2016 is going to be the best Lent we’ve ever had, we need to be like Simon, James, and John. Here’s how we do it:
- It’s about Jesus – No matter what we do, we need to make Jesus the most important thing. If giving up chocolate doesn’t really have anything to do with Jesus, then forget it. What thing are we going to do this Lent that helps us focus on Jesus? What can you do that will help you say Jesus’ name every day? What do you need to give up to make room for Jesus? Focus on Jesus.
- Try, try again – Had a bad Lent in the past? Never had a good Lent, like ever? Be willing to try again. Say like Simon, “I haven’t caught anything yet, but at your command Jesus, I will try again.” This time we need to fish in deeper waters. Maybe that means making a big Lenten promise this year that deepens our faith. Whatever we do, we need to try again this year.
- Look in a mirror – After the big catch, Simon figures out that there is something special about this Jesus. Simon knows he is a sinner and says so. Jesus forgives him and calls Simon to follow him. We do this by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We think about the ways we have failed to do good and avoid evil, we own up to it, God forgives us, and then we can more full say yes to Jesus. Lent is the perfect time to do this. (check the HNOJ Lenten Guide for increased Reconciliation times).
Sign up for a daily Lenten email. We recommend the “Best Lent Ever” emails from Dynamic Catholic. Every day you’ll get something to think about or do that will help you focus on Jesus, try again, and look in a mirror. Sign up here.