Friday in the Octave of Easter

Today’s Gospel is set on the Sea of Tiberias, or the Sea of Galilee.

These fishermen were out all night.  They caught nothing.  By their own efforts, they came up completely empty.

Jesus tells them one time to lower their nets.  They catch more than they can handle. 

And, it is not like these men did not know fishing.  This was what they did…likely their whole lives before following our Lord.  They may not have known a lot of things, but they knew fishing.  And, the whole night before, they caught nothing.

They were successful only when cooperating with Christ.  It is then that their skills as fishermen were suddenly fruitful.  Abundantly so.  The gift given them back was excessively generous.  But that is who God is.  That is what God does.

Hopefully, we recognize our own talents and gifts.  But we must remember that it was God who gave us those abilities to become successful. 

But we really must step out of the current secular mindset.  That life is all about what we make it rather than what God wants for us.  That it is all about us.  That success is measured purely in secular measures…money, power, fame, and comfort.

God wants to give us something more than what we have now.  And, he will help us do things far greater than those to which we ourselves aspire.  But we must give him something first.  We must be willing to cooperate.  We must offer ourselves.

It will only be by following God’s will…by cooperating with the grace of the Holy Spirit…that we will be fully successful in this life.  At least by the measures that really matter.  Following only our own agenda will leave us empty and unfulfilled. 

One way that helps me greatly comes from Saint Thomas Aquinas.  He wrote that Jesus’ human nature is seen as an instrument of his divinity.  Much like a carpenter might use a hammer.  Or a painter uses a brush.  The tool is an instrument in the hands of the craftsman or artist.

Reflecting on this, I have come to pray that I might somehow be an imperfect instrument of Christ’s divine will, which in turn mirrors the Father’s will. 

If our lives become a total offering, we look to do God’s will in every moment.  It is only then that our lives realize their potential.  It is only then that our nets become fuller than we could imagine.