Our Gospel reading for this Sunday’s Mass is often used for Vocations talks because of the last line from Jesus: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” I find the build-up to this line very encouraging, and equally important for our young people as they contemplate their response to Jesus’ call.
First, we see the scene laid out: the people are pressing upon Jesus. There is a great crowd who need to be cared for by Jesus and his disciples. The need is great; will you help meet this need?
Next, we have Simon Peter’s doubt in himself but faith in Jesus: ”Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” Jesus can accomplish far more through you than you could ever accomplish on your own. You will meet your greatest success and true fulfilment only when you allow Christ to have charge of your life.
“They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them.” God wants us to rely on each other as we live out our vocations. We are not alone in this! We have the whole Body of Christ, the Church, to help us discern and live out our vocations.
Finally, we see Simon Peter fall at the knees of Jesus and protest his calling because of his sins. It is against this excuse of Peter that Jesus replies: “Do not be afraid.” Jesus will take Simon the fisherman and make of him Peter the Apostle and Pope. It is our real, sinful-but-willing selves that God wants to sanctify and empower with His Holy Spirit. God will provide the graces required for the work to be done. If you don’t feel ready yet, you are in luck. God is just waiting to provide the graces you need. Do not be afraid! Ask for what you need to respond fully to God’s Will. Your vocation is God calling you to greatness! Take courage and let Him in your boat. He will accomplish great things with your willing heart.