When was the last time you were astonished? Astonishment is a wonderful thing isn’t it? It happens when we encounter something unexpected and wildly good. Videos of this sort of thing are passed around on the internet every day. One of my favorites is when an infant shares his food. Have you seen these? There’s the one year old sitting in his chair, relishing his cheerios or spaghetti noodles, not even comprehending what he’s doing; he can barely control his arms well enough to put the food in his mouth instead of his chin… then he reaches out and tries to hand you a cheerio or a noodle. Where did that come from? What inspired that act of generosity? It came from his heart; there were no ulterior motives; only some glimmer of consideration for us to share in this goodness he was experiencing.
Christ came to this earth to save us; he had been given an amazing mission from the Father. He would bring us new access to God’s divine grace, to eternal life with the Father; to a renewed capacity to experience God’s goodness; and what does he do? He calls us to join him. No higher meaning for our life could there be; no greater fulfillment of our longing to be and do something great; he shares it with us. Aren’t we astonished?
He doesn’t need our help; he firstly offers his help to us; Peter and the others sat in the boat with him while he taught the crowds. Peter was learning; listening to him speak; watching how he was with the people. He didn’t fathom that Christ would then invite him to carry on his work; but Christ did; he promised that he would be a fisher of men like him. Jesus could have decided to simply be reborn, every generation, in every part of the world, for the rest of time, but he didn’t. He gave us a baptism so that you, and I could be his rebirth. So that you and I could enter into his amazing experience of not only receiving salvation from him, but participating in his mission to share his grace, to share his eternal life. Astonishing. An astonishing mission to which we are called.
Christ asked Peter, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Peter obediently followed Christ’s call. He answered him, and forever his life was changed. He left everything and followed him.
This Wednesday we will begin the season of Lent. Christ will invite us out into the desert. Are ready to respond to him? If we do our life will continue to be changed. In the Psalm we heard, “The Lord will complete what he has done for me,” and so we enter again into this time of purification and enlightenment so we can be made even more ready for this astonishing mission.
As we heard in the first reading the voice of the Lord said, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Let us respond as the prophet Isaiah did, “Here I am, send me.” In the second reading we heard Paul say, “It is by the grace of God that I am what I am; his grace has been effective.” This lent let us be like Peter who left everything and followed him. Let us be like Paul who allowed God’s grace to effective in him. The Son of God wants to share his very own life; as he reaches out to us, shouldn’t we accept what he is offering?