This time of year is filled with a sense of anticipation and
excitement for candidates preparing for reception into the Church at
Easter through Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist.  Through Inquiry
and Catechesis, each person declares their intention to enter into a
relationship with the Church [Jesus Christ], learning its ways and
participating in its lifestyle.  Our Gospel today is indicative of how
many come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Careful reading of our gospel reveals that this is not the first time
Simon met Jesus.  The fact that Jesus had previously been in Simon’s
home and healed his mother-in-law suggests that Simon is already aware
of this person, Jesus.  He has heard him speak, witnessed his miracles
and observed him pray.  We can read today’s Gospel, therefore, as a
description of the developing relationship between Jesus and Simon
Peter which is key to our own response as followers of Jesus.

Having witnessed all of this, Simon is now curious, and he, like the
rest of the crowd want to hear more – they ‘crowd round’, listening to
Jesus attentively – the ‘word of God’.  Isn’t it interesting that it
is from Simon’s boat [the symbol for the Church] that Jesus teaches
the crowd.  Once Simon has been nourished by the word of God, it
begins to make its home in his heart.  Luke emphasises that Simon’s
response is not immediate, but one of discernment and reflection.
Only when Simon nets a ‘huge catch of fish’ does he realise Jesus is
inviting Simon to follow him.  Peter’s response – a typically biblical
response to an encounter with the Divine – is not an immediate yes,
but one of protest, one of unworthiness: “Leave me, Lord; I am a
sinful man”.  Jesus encourages Simon with a divine reassurance
associated with all biblical calls – “Do not be afraid”.  Having
reassured Simon, Jesus then calls him to enlighten others by saying,
“from now on it is men you will catch.”  In other words, as one who
has been enlightened by the Word, and responded to the Lord’s call,
you now have the obligation to bring others to faith in Jesus Christ
through the Good News.

Simon’s example invites us to reflect on our own response to the
teachings of Jesus, the enthusiasm and energy with which we respond to
his call, and the witness we give to others through the example of our

Let us pray for all Christians: may they be faithful followers of
Christ and true witnesses to the Gospel.  We remember those
enlightened by the Word of God, those preparing for sacraments at
Easter; may the Lord who has begun the good work in them bring it to