In his book Divine Renovation, Fr. James Mallon speaks about the process towards becoming a true disciple of Jesus. He says it happens when a person moves beyond seeing their faith as a set of obligations to be fulfilled and move towards having an encounter with Jesus Christ and desiring to deepen their relationship with him.
Today in our Gospel we hear how the disciples had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. They had returned and were washing their nets. After finding out that they had had no success Jesus asked them to put their nets back out into the deep. This made no sense at all on two counts. First, the deep was a dangerous place. Many boats had been destroyed by going out there. This was the reason why boats usually stayed closer into the coastland.
Secondly, Jesus asked them to go back out in the middle of the day. No one in Galilee fished at that time of the day. The sun was hot, and the fish usually retreated to the bottom of the sea. Yet despite knowing this Peter says, “at your word I will try again” and goes back out into the deep despite the risks. The result was that such a huge haul of fish came a second boat was called for and both boats were close to sinking point. Having experienced what had happened Peter falls at the feet of Jesus and begins to worship him. His relationship with Jesus deepened in that moment. No longer was Jesus his teacher but rather he was the Lord of his life. Ultimately this is the end goal of being a disciple.
This Gospel passage presents to us a challenge to deepen our relationship and go further with Jesus. Sometimes it may involve times of difficulty, but this Gospel also reminds us that if we are prepared to take the risk and go deeper then Jesus will give us what we are looking for. The question is are we prepared to take the risk?