For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus" knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Today's first reading underlines the sanctity that is possible through the normal duties and works of daily life, if done in a spirit of faith and calling on the grace of God. The natural activities of life--employment, study, health-care, eating and drinking, marriage and family--can be consecrated to God and be performed with gratitude. St Paul's ideal for us, as for his original readers, is that we "lead lives worthy of the Lord." This is what the Church means by the universal call to holiness, shared by all the baptised. One of our blessings is that the Lord has useful work for each of us to do. What we need is the courage and insight to know where to cast our nets.
Most of us will have tasted the experience of failure in one shape or form. We may have failed to live up to the values and the goals that we had set ourselves; some enterprise or some initiative that we had invested in may have come to nothing; some relationship that was important to us may have slipped away from us. All such experiences can leave us feeling disheartened. Such an experience of failure is to be found in today's gospel. We can hear the note of failure in the words of Peter to Jesus, "we worked hard all night long and caught nothing," and in his later words to Jesus, "leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man." Yet, the gospel proclaims loudly that failure does not need to have the last word, because the Lord is stronger than our failures and can work powerfully through them. The Lord transformed the fruitless night's labour of the disciples into an abundant catch of fish, and he insisted that the sinful Peter would share in his own work of drawing people into the nets of God's kingdom. The Lord is constantly at work in all kinds of seemingly unpromising situations, drawing new life out of loss and failure. Yet, for this to happen, the Lord needs us not to give in to discouragement. He needs us to keeping putting out into deep water in response to his faithful word.