February 6, 2022
Pope Francis invites Christians to welcome Jesus so they can navigate the sea of life without fear.
Taking his cue from the Gospel of today’s Liturgy, Pope Francis narrated the parable that tells of how Jesus invites some disappointed fishermen, including Simon Peter, to go back out to sea and cast their nets again (Lk 5:1-4).
Speaking during the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, he said that “Jesus climbs into Simon’s boat and invites him to put out into the open water.”
“It is a beautiful image,” the Pope said, explaining that “every day the boat of our life leaves the shores of our home to sail out into the sea of daily activities; every day we try to ‘fish from the sea’, to cultivate dreams, to pursue projects, to experience love in our relationships.”
But often, he continued, like Peter, we experience the disappointment of trying so hard and not seeing the desired results: “We are left with a sense of defeat, while disappointment and bitterness arise in our hearts.”
The empty boat: a symbol of our incapacity
That empty boat, he explained, is the symbol of our incapacity, the pulpit from which Jesus proclaims the Word.
It’s what the Lord loves to do, Pope Francis noted: “to climb into the boat of our lives when we have nothing to offer him; to enter our voids and fill them with his presence; to make use of our poverty to proclaim his wealth, our miseries to proclaim his mercy.”
He reiterated the fact that God “does not want a cruise ship: a poor “ramshackle” boat is enough for him, as long as we welcome him,” and he invited the faithful to ask themselves whether they “let Him into the boat of their lives?” Whether they “make available to Him the little they have?”
Feeling unworthy because we are sinners is an excuse, he said, that the Lord does not like because it distances Him from us.
In this way, the Pope continued, the Lord reconstructs Peter’s trust. He climbs into his boat and tells him to put out from the land. And even though it was not a good time of the day for fishing, Peter trusts in Jesus.
Never yield to disappointment
“He does not base his trust on the strategies of fishermen, which he knows well, but on the newness of Jesus. It is the same for us too: if we welcome the Lord into our boat, we can put out to sea,” he said.
The Pope urged believers to not yield to disappointment “when we catch nothing”, to not give up. Always, he said, “in personal life as well as in the life of the Church and society, there is something beautiful and courageous that can be done.”
He concluded saying: “We can always start again – the Lord always invites us to get back on our feet because He opens up new possibilities. So let us accept the invitation: let us chase away pessimism and mistrust, and put out to sea with Jesus!”
By Linda Bordoni