Thursday, September 3, 2009

Working hard...for nothing

“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”

Today's Gospel speaks about perseverance and faith. Peter's a professional fisherman. He and his crew have been out all night, applying their trade fruitlessly (fish-lessly?). Peter's tired, he's had it. He's calling it a night. How many times have I been there? Working as hard as we can, to seemingly no avail, where we want to call it a night like Peter wanted to. I can even imagine a tinge of exasperation in Peter's reply "Who is this flaky Nazarene...a CARPENTER, no tell me where, when and how to fish??? I've been working these waters for years! Who does this guy think he is???"

But Peter does it anyway. For whatever reason, at Jesus' command, he lowers his nets, eventually swamping 2 boats to nearly the sinking point with fish.

I personally don't feel like lowering my nets right now. I got some news today that someone I look up to and have been inspired by is in trouble...the kind of trouble that will hurt her reputation and possibly detonate her life's work. She has meant so much to me (and many, many others) in my spiritual journey over the years. It is very difficult for me to see into the deep waters where Jesus is now asking me to cast my nets. My cynicism and knowledge of how the world is makes it extremely hard to trust.

May God grant Sister Lauren love, tenderness and a strong back to bear this cross. May she be encouraged and supported by all of her students that love her, admire her and have been inspired by her to serve our brothers and sisters in and out of the Church.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.


Daily Mass Readings
Colossians 1:9-14
Psalm 98:2-6
Luke 5:1-11


  1. It's not my place to label her, but in general here's what I know. I have avoided my family curse, alcoholism, but I have attended many AA meetings with family members on their anniversary dates.
    I found many people who had been doing important work in the community or held responsible jobs or were community leaders. In fact, sometimes I think alcoholism takes the "best and the brightest".
    When I met these people, the meaning of the work redemption came clear to me. These was the most spiritual, open and kind group of people I have met. The first couple of years of sobriety seems to be hard and they can be angry, humiliated and generally difficult, but once through that, they are often a clear light. There are backsliders, of course, this is not universal, but it seems to be common.
    Both my parents, a grandparent, cousins and other relatives went through this, and I saw it happen.
    At one point, my father had pneumonia and no one to bring him food and kerosine for the heater. He called his ex-wife, who did bring him supplies, but he had no one -- no friends, his kids were angry at this, he was too embarassed to call his siblings. When he died, the church was full of people saying had saved their lives and the minister openly wept. I called him my hero for his courage in confronting his problem and redeeming himself in his own eyes and the eyes of everyone who loved him.

    What I am saying is the outcome of this event may not be at all what you expect.

  2. That's why Thursday's Gospel was so appropriate to how I was feeling...not seeing the result of a seemingly fruitless action, yet trusting in God anyway.