‘Net-works’- Thursday, 22nd week in ordinary time – Lk 5:1-11
Jesus has healed Simon’s mother in law and cast out many demons in the city of Capernaum in Galilee. At all times Jesus has made it a priority to ‘proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God’. The reading of today unfolds on the lake of Gennesaret also known as the lake of Galilee, with a crowd pressing to hear ‘the word of God’.
Jesus is single minded in his mission. He is here to bring the ‘Good News to the poor’ (Luke 4:18) and He does exactly that. The crowds who have been hungering for the Word of God and not some stories or anecdotes, press in to hear Him. I think we preachers need to take a cue from the opening lines of the Gospel and stop pandering to our congregations who want ‘bed time stories’ at Mass rather than the breaking (explanation) of His word. Dwindling congregations testify to a failed methodology that continues to be employed. The consequence is that poor nourishment is dished out rather than the laity being fed by His word. Stale bread, it seems, is the order of the day.
While the modern day preacher has a pulpit, Jesus had to make do with what was available and His eyes set on two boats whose owners were washing their nets. Most of us would have protested if our work schedule was disrupted, especially since Simon and his team had worked the whole night long and were obviously winding down to not only a disappointed catch but perhaps an empty stomach. Free suggestions from amateur anglers was certainly now what Simon needed. Yet Simon complies with Jesus request, perhaps out of gratitude for the fact that Jesus had healed his mother in law the day before.
It is interesting to see the methodology that Jesus employs in Luke’s Gospel in calling the disciples to follow Him. In the Gospel of Matthew and Mark, Jesus authoritatively calls the disciples and they leave everything and follow Him; not so in the Gospel of Luke. Here Jesus employs, what I call a ‘bait and wait’ (pun intended) methodology. He has worked a miracle in Simon’s house and turned it into a healing centre and now he uses Simon’s boat to preach his message while Simon and his colleagues wound up their day but within ear shot of this teacher and his message.
Fr. Warner D'Souza is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Bombay. He has served in the parishes of St Michael's, Mahim, St Paul's, Dadar East, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bandra and at present is the priest in charge of St Jude Church, Malad East. He is also the Director of the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum and is the co-ordinator of the Committee for the Promotion and Preservation of the Artistic and Historic Patrimony of the Church.