In our Gospel story today, Jesus has used Simon Peter’s boat to address the people gathered on the shore of lake Galilee, probably using one of the inlets of the lake as a natural amphitheatre, with the crowds looking down on the water and Jesus’ voice echoing around for all to hear easily. He then suggests that they go fishing. From what Simon says, night time was the time to catch fish and they had caught nothing all night long. But Simon had seen Jesus cure his own mother-in-law of fever and heal many others of different kinds of sickness. Although the idea of fishing seemed ridiculous, Simon trusts in the Lord and in the end they fill two boats to sinking point.
Nothing is impossible for God. We may sometimes feel we are labouring in vain but we ask for some of Simon’s faith in Jesus’ power. Sometimes following the word of God will take us into unexpected waters, but we may be sure that Jesus is always in the boat with us. And just as Simon’s companions in other boats came to help him to land the fish, so too we realise that we are supported and encouraged by our brothers and sisters in the Lord and that we should try to keep an eye out for any of them who need a helping hand.
Sometimes God’s word asks us to do something we find we have tried before without success. We may be challenged to reach out again to someone who has spurned us; we may find it difficult to forgive someone who has hurt us, but Jesus tells us pay out our nets again.
Jesus used the fishermen’s’ own skills to achieve great results. He will work too with our own abilities and individual strengths. We rely on Jesus to show us the way : “Here I am Lord, send me to do your will.”