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.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel. (R./)
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy. (R./)
Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the King, the Lord. (R./)
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.
Paul teaches that holiness is gained by the normal activities of daily life, if done in a spirit of faith and trusting the grace of God. The natural activities of life (employment, study, health-care, eating and drinking, family life) can be dedicated to God and be performed with gratitude. Paul’s ideal for us, as for his original readers, is to "lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him." This the universal call to holiness, shared by all the baptised. It’s a blessing to know 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 failure in one shape or form. We may have failed to live up to the goals we had set ourselves. Some enterprise or some initiative that we had invested in may have come to nothing. All such experiences can leave us feeling disheartened. There is a response to the feeling of failure in today’s gospel. We can hear the note of failure in Peter’s complaint, "we worked hard all night long and caught nothing," and in his later appeal, "Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man."
Failure does not need to have the last word, because the Lord is near and can help us through them. He transformed their fruitless night’s labour by giving them an abundant catch of fish. He also insisted that the sinful Peter would work with him, drawing people into the nets of God’s kingdom. The Lord is constantly at work in all kinds of unpromising situations, bringing life out of loss and failure. For this to happen, we need to not give in to discouragement. We need to keep putting out into deep water in response to his faithful word.