Commentary on the Gospel of

Luis Enrique Ortiz Alvarez, cmf

Luke 5,1—11

In the first eleven verses of chapter five of Luke we find Jesus teaching in the boat of Simon Peter, the miracle of abundant fishing and the call to Peter and his companions. All the scenes revolve around the strength of Jesus' word. In the first part Luke describes the context in which Jesus performs the threefold action: by the lake of Genesaret, a multitude that crowded to hear Jesus, two boats by the lake, fishermen had come down from them and washed the networks.

The first recipients are the multitude of people Jesus was addressing; Probably sick, hungry, poor of the region and fishermen who were in the place at that moment. The word of Jesus is captivating and renews the hope of those who listen. In the second part, when Jesus finishes speaking he addresses Peter with two imperatives, one referred to him "salt" and the other referred to those who were "cast" with him. Jesus prevails to Peter to go to the deepest part and cast the nets there. However, Peter - and those with him - had already tried all night and had not achieved results, but Peter trusts the word of Jesus, by the authority with which Jesus rules.

Peter and his companions were probably tired, frustrated, and discouraged, for they had lost hope of producing results in their daily work. The word of Jesus is strength in the midst of weakness, hope in the midst of despair, it is energy in the midst of discouragement. The results after having fulfilled the command of Jesus were such that "the nets were broken" and "the boats were sinking". Whoever trusts in the word of Jesus gets results that surpass expectations.

The word of Jesus is effective. The third part starts from the confession of Peter "depart from me because I am a sinner." Luke says that Peter was seized by the 'astonishment' caused by the miracle. The sign of fishing evokes the greatness of Jesus, his messianic character and his authority as an envoy of the Father. That is why Peter recognizes him as Lord. The Lord, who has worked the miracle in the lives of those fishermen, provokes the feeling of smallness and recognition of weakness. Before the greatness of God the human being can not but recognize his smallness. Once again the word of Jesus is blunt and captivating. With a 'no fear' Jesus turns Peter into a fisherman of men; Makes him capable of a mission greater than his capabilities, makes him capable of the gift of God. St. Luke closes this passage saying that leaving everything followed.

The word of Jesus is living and effective. This passage invites us to live in permanent listening to the God who comes to meet us and speaks to us in our smallness and vulnerability. There is no reality so dark, so full of despair, so arid that the Word of God can not transform. We live in a society full of searches, full of speeches, full of information and cover of noises that can disorient us. We are urged to stop our efforts to be God-seekers to be found. We need more silence than great speeches about God. We need more silence to discover the God who is Word and who is always, in every moment, speaking to us in our reality. God in Jesus, chooses us and makes us capable of doing with others what He has done first in our lives. Let us be contemplators, hearers and servants of His Word, who evoke in the lives of others, more questions that provoke openness to God than answers that limit it.


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