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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Reflection 2020-09-03 Wednesday 22nd Week in Ordinary Time – St Gregory the Great

1 Corinthians 8:1-7, 11-13; Psalm 139; Luke 6:27-38
The Gospel today is Luke’s version of the call of Peter. Jesus saw two boats and he got into the one belonging to Simon. Jesus asks Simon to put out a little way from the shore and Jesus preaches from the boat. When he was finished, Jesus told Simon to put into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch. Simon protested by said yet, if you say so, I will let down the nets. When they did, they caught so many fish, their nets begin to break. Simon Peter saw this and fell at the knees of Jesus and said Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man. Jesus told Simon Do not be afraid from now on you will be catching people. In this episode, Simon obeys Jesus in everything Jesus asks. In the end, Simon saw the miracle Jesus performed. Simon then realizes who he is: a sinful man. He also gets an idea of who he is before, definitely not an ordinary rabbi.
This humility of Peter allows him to obey Jesus and admit his own wretchedness. Simon knew he was a nobody before Jesus.
This is what St Paul said in the First Reading: if you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. St Paul continues The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile. If I corrupt the word of God, spinning it to justify whatever I want, I become wise before my own eyes and will soon find out that my thoughts are futile.
At least two miracles happened in the Gospel. There was no fish when there should have been fish. Simon said we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. The second miracle is: there were fish when there should be none. Simon would not have seen this miracle if he disregarded what Jesus said. His obedience allowed Jesus to perform the miracle.
Simon had every reason not to obey Jesus. Jesus was a carpenter and not a fisherman. Simon was a fisherman from his youth. Simon, because of his experience has wisdom specifically for his trade. But he still obeyed. And he received the blessing of Christ because he obeyed.
Leo the Great was a pope in the 6th century at a time when the Western Empire was collapsing. The Church, through Leo, had to step in to prevent society from collapsing. The Church was responsible for both the civil government as well as the spiritual needs of the Western empire. St Leo sent missionaries to England including its first bishop: St Augustine of Canterbury, to preach the Gospel. He is also a doctor of the Church. St Gregory did not become great because of his intelligence or wisdom. He stepped into a void and did what God wanted him to do.
God has a plan for everyone. He wants us to trust him. This trust is seen when we obey him. When we obey, we allow God to do great things in our lives, so he can be glorified. This is only possible when we consider ourselves as nothing before God.
Lord, here I am, a sinner. I am nothing before you. My skills, my intelligence, my strengths are nothing when I come before you. Yet, I offer them to you so you can use them for your glory. May I learn to trust you so I can obey you. St Gregory the Great, pray that I may have the wisdom to see things through the eyes of God, and have the courage to step out in faith to do his will.

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