Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily – September 2, 2021
Homily for the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 9-2-21, Year B
Readings: Col 1:9-14, Gospel Lk 5:1-11
Theme: The Call
Nine years ago, I was working for a lumberyard in Wisconsin as a General Manager of a small truss plant building trusses for the residential home industry. I had been there 10 years. We were hit hard by the housing collapse in 2008 and struggled for the next four years. We went from being in the black and over 20 employees to losing money and down to eight employees.
By 2012 I had taken a pay cut and the owners were doing everything they could to keep me on. I knew I was a drag on the company and that there was really no need any longer for a Sr. Manager of such a whittled down division. I knew that costs needed to be cut in order to keep the remaining employees working and my salary was just the value to do that.
The owners really needed to lay me off in order to right the ship but were committed to me and my employment contract. They were good people. I knew the owners did not want to let me go, so I made the decision for them. I told them I would look for other employment in order to help keep the division going and to help those employees who really needed to keep their jobs, employed.
It was shortly after this that an old friend of mine from an industrial water treatment company in Rockford saw me on Linkedin. He asked if I would be interested in coming back to the water industry which I had spent 18 years in prior to the lumber- yard job. I said “yes” and soon I had a new job with good pay and my truss plant employees at the lumberyard were able to keep theirs. It was a win-win.
But that is not the amazing part of this story because at that same time I was changing jobs, I had come to recognize God’s call for me to be a Deacon in the Rockford Diocese. That would have been very difficult to do if I had remained at the truss plant in Wisconsin, an hour and fifteen minutes away, working late hours and Saturdays. Being back in the Rockford area afforded me the time to join the Diaconate program and become a Deacon. Jesus had gotten into my boat and told me to put out my net for a catch. And boy did I have a catch. I dropped every extracurricular activity and followed Jesus. The rest is history.
We do not always know the time and place when Jesus will get into our boat and ask us to do something. It is at those times that we need to recognize that the wisdom of God is far greater than our own. Will we listen to Him, even when our conventional wisdom tells us that we are not going to catch anything? Always be looking for Jesus and be ready for the time when He gets into your boat and asks something of you.