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September 7, 2012

The Instructions Don’t Always Seem to Make Sense

In St. Luke Gospel (4:38-44), Jesus escapes from the crowds pressing in on him by getting into Peter's (still Simon then) boat. After he finishes teaching the crowd from the boat, Jesus instructs Peter to "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."

Now, if you are Peter, this instruction makes absolutely no sense. Peter and the others had been out fishing all night and had caught nothing. There was absolutely no reason to think putting out the net at this point would produce any results. So it would be a lot of work for nothing.

If it were me, I could imagine myself arguing with Jesus. Trying to explain to him why this was ridiculous advice. Trying to get him to change his mind or find some other way to avoid doing as he instructed. And if I did agree to do what he said, it probably would have been grudgingly, muttering under my breath at the absurdity of the situation, annoyed at doing this unnecessary work.

Yet Peter, at whose foibles we so often laugh, says and does none of this. He simply says, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,but at your command I will lower the nets."

Our vision is so much more limited than God's. It is not surprising that we can't always understand God's commands. It is to be expected.

Perhaps one way of understanding what faith is and what it means to trust God is a willingness to say, "The instructions make absolutely no sense to me, but as you command, so I will do." Peter was able to do that. May we be given the grace to do the same. ..

(Susan Stabile, cross-posted from Creo en Dios! )