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THE LORD IN SIMON'S BOAT - JESUS'S SELF-MANIFESTATION: MARK 5:1-11 (Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11)
By Augustine Agwulonu
Sun, 07 Feb 2016

THE LORD IN SIMON'S BOAT - JESUS'S SELF-MANIFESTATION: MARK 5:1-11 (Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11)

The evangelist, Mark, paints a narrative picture of how Simon encounters Jesus and receives the vocation to be his disciple. The event takes place at the lake of Gennesaret. The passage can be divided into three main parts: proclamation of the word by Jesus, an astonishing catch of fish and call to leave everything to follow Jesus. 

Jesus stages a preaching outreach at this seaside. He even preaches from Peter's boat on the water. And immediately after his sermon, Jesus commands Simon to "put out into the deep water and lower his nets for a catch." Peter hesitates. He argues that they have worked all night without any catch! However, he acts in obedience to Jesus, whom he calls "Master," and lowers his nets. The cast nets in numerous fish. Peter's boat and that of his companions are filled with the fish, whose weight nearly sinks the boats. However, they are able to drag the boats ashore. Then Simon requests Jesus to depart from him because he is a sinner. But The Lord encourages Simon saying: "Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men." Finally, Simon, James and John leave everything and follow Jesus.

The pattern of the events here follows the call of Isaiah in the Old Testament. It reminds us of St. Paul's experience. In all of these cases, there is a manifestation of God's Majesty and Holiness. This is followed by the feeling of personal inadequacy and sinfulness on the parts of Isaiah, Peter and Paul. But they are assured of God's forgiveness and divine support. Finally, these figures make themselves available to The Lord.

God constantly seeks and reaches out to his children. The Lord meets his chosen people and calls them from where they are. We can always encounter The Lord wherever we are. Like Isaiah, Simon and Paul, The Lord desires that we respond positively to his call. We have the moral obligation to reciprocate God's gesture of love and kindness. These are expressed by his searching and reaching out to us. We must be open to the Lord's sending and mission.

Simon does not allow the disappointment of the previous night to make him disobey The Lord. He is ready to try again. Disappointment can be a preparation for so,e breakthrough in your life. Do not allow failure to weigh you down and hind you you from trying again.

Mark does not tell us what Jesus preaches about. But there must have been words of hope, which inspires and motivates Simon. The Lord's plan for you is unfolding day by day. He comes for you, personally. The reason is because he cares for you and needs your services in order to reach out to others. The Lord's call holds a great promise to us. If we respond positively, then we shall rule with Jesus. God has given us the special privilege to participate in his Son's work of calling people to communion, friendship and union with him.

And there is no better job than this!


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