Going the Extra Mile

February 6, 2022

After giving a great homily from the boat, Jesus invites Simon and the group to cast out to a new depth to find an abundance.  Simon says something we all have felt from time to time, “We are exhausted.  We have been doing our job all night with nothing to show of it.”  But Simon goes the extra mile, lowers the nets and finds an abundance of blessings.  This Gospel passage invites us to look at what happens when we follow the Lord, no matter how exhausted we are.  God has plans, great plans of abundance when we listen to His voice and follow His commands.  He longs for us to find the unexpected, even from the places we know.  These fishermen knew the Sea of Galilee, they knew where and when to fish, yet Jesus makes things new.

We are all fatigued moving forward.  It takes more energy to do the tasks we are used to doing.  It takes more energy to stay positive.  Yet, if we stay the course and continue to follow the words and commands, amazing things will take place.  Simon Peter had exhausted himself doing it on his own, yet when Jesus asked him to plunge those nets once again into the water, this time not relying on his own skills but on the commands of the Lord, amazing things took place.  So often we use our gifts and talents and get exhausted because we are trying to do it on our own.  The experience changes when we take direction or admit we need help.

On my first trip to Africa, I stayed with some Maryknoll priests at their rectory.  The day after I arrived, I was hoping to get to the cathedral and do some praying and see a bit of Nairobi.  The priests walked me out to the road and showed me where to catch a bus and what landmark to look for.  But at the time when I got on a very crowded bus, I was so excited that I forgot the landmark I was supposed to look for.  A gentleman saw me confused and taking it all in, he asked me if I needed help.  I was young and wanted to do this on my own, but I relented.  I told him I was looking for the cathedral.  He told me he would help.  He actually got off of the bus and walked me two blocks to show me the big open square where the cathedral was, then he began to walk back.  I asked him where he was going.  He replied that he was going to catch the next bus to go to his workplace which was two more stops down the line.  I was overwhelmed by his generosity and I tried to pay him, but he would take nothing.  The generosity of the time he offered to me was amazing.  I thought of times being in our city or in New York City and being lost with no one to help.  I thought about my stubbornness in not asking for help.  Sometimes pride and ego get in the way.

Jesus wants us to go deep.  He wants to show us a different direction. He wants us to follow His commands to come and follow!

Fr. John