The Lord’s Demands on Us: Sermon on Luke 5: 1-11
Eric Hollas, OSB
Saint John’s Abbey
3 September 2015
The few anglers that I know would be overjoyed to have a boatload of fish. Most would be thrilled to no end at the prospect of too many fish, and too many big fish in particular. And so Peter’s reaction is counterintuitive. He’s deeply disturbed by what’s just happened, and he knows that it’s only the first of many great things that the Lord is going to do through him.
Peter was neither the first nor the last to tell the Lord to go away and leave him in peace. Augustine of Hippo’s prayer was a variation on the theme, when he pleaded that the Lord save him, “but not just yet.” And if Mary in her Magnificat does not exactly ask the Lord to spare her, she still realizes that being favored by the Lord brings a heavy burden of personal sacrifice.
So we shouldn’t be surprised if our reaction to the Lord is cut from the same bolt of cloth. Some of us would rather be left alone to pursue quiet, under-the-radar sorts of lives. Some of us may not be so introverted, but we still shrink from the thought of losing control of our lives. Common to us all, I hope, is gratitude for the gifts God has given us; but with it comes a fear of what will happen if we submit to God’s plan for using those gifts.
But common to eveyrone who does surrender to the Lord is the discovery that the Lord’s yoke is easy and the burden light. And the reason for this is simple enough. If we but ask, the Lord will help to carry not only our burdens, but our very lives as well.
[The stained glass panel is from the Cathedral of Chartres.]