Simon was an ordinary fisherman from Capernaum in Galilee. One day, he was going about his ordinary business, washing his nets and preparing for a catch. Without warning, without asking permission, Jesus got into his boat. Now the boat was everything for Peter; it was his livelihood, his security. And Jesus just got in and began giving orders.
So it goes in the order of grace. The true God cannot be manipulate by us, controlled through our efforts. Rather, he comes into our lives, often unbidden and unexpected, to determine and guide us.
What does this surprising and awe-inspiring person do once he gets our attention? He gives us a mission. When Jesus gets into Simon’s boat, he says, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” The deep water represents God’s work, projects, and intentions.
Jesus even clarified this mission for Peter saying, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10). In essence, he told Peter: Now you know what your life is about; now the depth dimension has opened up.
But what does all of this also produce? A keen sense of one’s own sinfulness. It is a Biblical commonplace (on display in the lives of all the saints as well) that the closer God gets, the more one becomes aware of his sin. But once God reveals himself, once he gets into our boat, we can no longer live with those comforting illusions.
Peter says, “Leave me Lord, I’m a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). This is precisely why we recite or sing the Kyrie at the beginning of every Mass. In God’s presence, we become aware of our sin. We must not be afraid of acknowledging our sin—despite a thousand suggestions to the contrary coming from the culture. God can easily deal with sin that is honestly confessed.
Our God is not the least bit interested in getting us fussily preoccupied with our sin. He wants us to confess it and get on with the mission.
Has God broken into your life? Has he given you a mission? Has he forgiven your sins? The answer to all three questions is: “Yes!”