Jesus Wants into Our Boat
By Father Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose
Vicar General for Special Projects, Diocese of San Jose
I recently read an article about pro-sports scouting; in particular, it focused on both baseball and basketball. I was fascinated by it how scouting has become so sophisticated. They have statistics on everything. Even their mistakes. Every single aspect of each sport is analyzed by computer algorithms; it is no longer just done by eye and on the back of a note card. It is done by statistics; the scouts come and verify that the statistics are indeed true. They pick the top athletes and they select exactly what they are looking for. Then they take whomever matches. In some ways, it kind of takes the fun out of scouting because there is very little left to the human intuition.
That is not the way Jesus picks. Lucky for us! Right? He does not select the qualified; he qualifies the selected. This is so important for us because we are all called to accept his call to action.
When we hear the today’s first reading from Isaiah and today’s Gospel, we tend to dismiss it as not applying to us because Isaiah is the Prophet and Peter is the first Pope. We don’t get that type of call. That is only for those who are going to be priests or religious of the Church. But that is not quite the way Luke meant this and we have to break open this Gospel a little bit to really understand it. Luke says God is calling every single one of us.
Luke’s call is different from the call of Peter in other Gospels. Jesus is talking to the crowds and Peter is literally at the feet of Jesus in the boat, listening to him. We can almost hear how Peter is awestruck. Then Jesus turns around and says to Peter, “Pull out, put out to deep water and throw out your nets. Do what you have always done, which is to fish.” And Peter does. And the catch is bountiful. What he has always done has now become abundant. Then Jesus says, “now come, you are going to catch people.”
That call is for every single one of us, not just for priests or prophets. Jesus says, “I will make whatever it is you do abundant.” Go back to what you have always done but do it for me. If you are in business, go back to business. He is not necessarily telling us to leave everything and go. He says, Go, do what you have always done.” Then he says, “Come and follow me. Come and be a disciple of mine and call other people.” Every one of us is called to be an evangelist. Not just the priest. Not just the prophet. We are called to come and to follow Jesus. But it all starts by allowing Jesus to come into our boat, allowing Jesus to speak directly to us in our hearts.