February 7, 2016
This Wednesday begins the annual forty day retreat that we call Lent. Today’s Gospel, although not connected to Lent, seems to prepare us. As we hear of the great catch of fish, we are reminded of the connection between eating fish on Fridays and the holy season we are about to begin. Although changing our diet one day a week can serve as a reminder that we are participating in the season of penance, hopefully Lent moves you to give up something more so that you can be open to receive something more. Our drive and motivation in Lent should be to create some sort of emptiness in our lives so that there is room to for the Holy Spirit to work.
As you begin to consider what extra efforts of charity you will do and what penances you will undertake through giving up, consider where the need for change is in your life. Then seek the Lord’s help in determining what can be done to bring a little of that change into your life. After all, the image of the abundant catch of fish is an image of the over abundance of grace that is available to you if you are courageous enough to “cast the net” into the depth of your heart and seek to rely more on God to fill the net.
Do not forget that Lent is a time for us to seek God not just in our individual efforts, but as a community as well. Our individual prayers and penances can and should be made with those preparing to enter the Church at Easter through baptism in mind. One can give something up for many other causes as well. In doing so, our efforts become about giving up something more, so that others can receive something more.
As you enter the desert once again, be creative and courageous. Remember that others need the grace that your penances obtain and chances are someone somewhere may be fasting for you to receive some extra grace to grow in your discipleship this Lent. The potential for us to each catch an abundance of grace this Lent is beyond our imagination. So let us join Peter and the Apostles in casting into the deep and following Jesus call to offer something more so that we can be blessed with so much more, for the next 40 days and for an eternity of Easter joy.