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Gospel Commentary: 'Put Out into the Deep'

Anyone familiar with Pope John Paul II has been invited frequently in the past few years to ponder Jesus? command to Peter, "Put out into the deep." The Holy Father made this a central theme of his reflections upon the meaning of the new millennium for those who bear the name "Christian." Peter, the fisherman, had been out all night searching the sea for fish only to return empty handed. He was tired and frustrated. Jesus calls him to "put out into the deep." In obedience, Peter goes and proceeds to make a miraculous catch. Deep water is an image that stirs the soul. It suggests the unknown. It implies great power. It inspires fear. It offers a challenge. It requires trust. No matter how familiar you are with the seas, it requires courage to put out into the deep. Most of us face fears every day. Both God and life make very serious demands upon us. What is your greatest fear this day? Dealing with old age? Having a baby? Choosing a vocation? Going to college? Facing an illness? Negotiating a struggling marriage? Confronting a serious sin? Just as Christ called Peter to venture out into the deep, He asks the same of us, every one of us. He asks us to place all our trust in Him. He asks us to venture forth knowing that He is right there in our boat, with us throughout the journey. Our faith teaches us not to fear because Christ is there. In fact, perfect love casts out all fear. When we realize that it is actually God?s boat and God?s journey, we can let go of our fears, knowing that He is in charge. Secondly, Peter put out because he was asked by the Lord. He thought he knew better. After all, he was a fisherman and the demand came from a carpenter. Yet when he was obedient to the Son of God, he made the largest catch of his career. He immediately changed careers. God?s ways are often not our ways. They are always above our ways. We need to constantly fight our strong desire to be in control of our lives and plan out our journey. We need to seek with all our hearts to be obedient to the God who knows us, loves us, and has conceived his plan for us. It is then that the greatest miracles happen. It is when we say "yes" and go where He leads us that we experience His joy and the many surprises He has in store for his followers. May Christ pour out the Spirit of loving obedience upon His Church and may we, His people, experience the joy of journeying with Christ out into the deep. Fr. Peterson is Campus Minister at Marymount University in Arlington.

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