Days of Preparation: Week Six/Session Three.
Theme: God’s Call to Me.
Our reading for today: Luke 5: 1-11.
When He (Jesus) finished teaching, He said to Simon, “Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.” Simon said, “Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if You say so, I’ll let out the nets.” It was no sooner said than done—a huge haul of fish, straining the nets past capacity. They waved to their partners in the other boat to come help them. They filled both boats, nearly swamping them with the catch. Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.” When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed Him. (Luke 5: 4-11 MsgB)
Ever played the kid’s word game Simon Says? It’s a simple yet fun action game for a group of active kids, and many times even the adults in the room enjoy getting in on the fun.
Here’s how it works. The leader of the game shouts out action commands to all those participating.
“Simon Says…tap on your head with your finger,” the leader yells. Everybody starts tapping on his or her heads. Quickly, the leader shouts out yet another instruction. “Simon Says…hop on one foot.” Everybody stops doing the last command and now follows the new one. As time goes on, the leader picks up the tempo, shouting out Simon Says commands as fast as they can. Everybody in the game does their very best to follow the leader’s instructions.
But the key to winning the Simon Says game is to eliminate those who are not listening carefully. So whenever the leader shouts out a command without using the words “Simon Says” in front of that action, all those who respond in kind are “out” of the game. Eventually, only one person wins by being the most obedient listener; the one who only does the commands when the leader precedes that command with the words… “Simon Says.”
Our gospel story in Luke today kinda reminds me of the Simon Says game. Only this time, the leader, this day, is Jesus…not Simon.
Jesus says…“Row your boat out into the water.” Simon does it.
Jesus says… “Throw your nets out on this side of the boat.” Simon responds.
So far so good.
But now we get to the interesting part of this Jesus Says story. When Simon, the well-seasoned fisherman sees, first hand, how this rabbi from Nazareth can command a catch of fish, our active participant decides to freak out. As a matter of fact, at this point in the story, it’s a good thing Jesus decides not to respond to what Simon Peter says back to Jesus…
“Simon Says…Master, leave…I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.”
Oh, thank goodness that Jesus wasn’t playing Simon Says when Peter spouts out this asinine statement to the Master! Can you just imagine what Peter’s life might have been like if Jesus would have responded to this “Simon Says” game on this fateful day in Capernaum?
And yet, I must admit that there have been numerous times in my life when I’ve seriously wondered, like Simon Peter does here, if I had the inner fortitude in me to do some of the things Jesus was asking of me. What about you?
As I see it, the invitations Jesus offers us throughout this life are, many times, well beyond our strengths or abilities…
Jesus says…Come, follow Me.
Jesus says…Let go of that valuable possession.
Jesus says…Forgive that one you are angry at.
Jesus says…Love that person who hates you.
Jesus says…Give your last dollar to that man over there.
Jesus says…Stop what you’re doing and go help that lady.
Jesus says…Have hope in this hopeless situation.
Jesus says…Hold onto that mustard seed of faith despite the circumstances.
Jesus says…Go, speak on My behalf.
The list goes on and on. And each time I hear a command like that, I’m always aware when it’s tied to the words… “Jesus says.”
‘Cause when Jesus says something; guess what, friends? It’s always spot-on correct!
So now, I guess the key to winning in this game called life is much like a kid’s game. I just gotta do better at careful listening and quicker responses whenever the Master says, “Jesus Says…”
My prayer: Master, I’m so sorry for the numerous times I fail to respond correctly when You say “Jesus Says…” Help me, Holy Spirit, to be a much better listener and empower me with that mustard seed of faith that says, “If Jesus says it, I better do it.” For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So how many commands from Jesus have I missed already today? Am I listening carefully? Am I fully participating? Am I, like Simon Peter and the others, able to overcome my personal doubts and unbelief, walking away from playing the game of life in my own way, and trusting the Master more and more whenever and wherever He says…“Jesus Says…?”
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!