Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily
Homily for the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 9-1-22, Year C
Readings: 1 Cor 3:18-23; Ps 24:1b-4b, 5-6; Gospel Lk 5:1-11
Theme: Do Not Outsmart Yourself
St. Paul says it best, “If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,”. St. Paul’s message is similar to that of Christ’s message to His disciples in Matthew, 18:3-4, “Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
In today’s world, it can be easy to outsmart ourselves. We have learned so much about life on earth, how nature works, cell phones, computers, the internet, artificial intelligence, how the human body works, etc. Knowledge of such things is now at our fingertips. We have access to the world, and it seems there is nothing we cannot know. This access can be a blessing or a curse.
With all of this information, we can outsmart ourselves and lose sight of what really matters to us as human beings made in the image of God. We can overthink our understanding of who we are and where we came from. It can become easy to look inward and reason that our existence is somehow due to our own choices, and we can lose sight of our creator and His plan for us.
Christ reminds Peter that God is, many times, beyond our intelligence and our understanding and that we do not always have the right answer. Sometimes it takes an act of faith. Peter, in all of his learning, knowledge, and experience of how to fish was certain of the outcome when Christ asked him to lower his net for a catch. Peter replies to Jesus, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command, I will lower the nets.”
Peter was sure he would catch nothing, much less believe that Jesus knew what He was talking about when it came to fishing. Peter was thinking as humans do, not as God does. Peter’s experience and knowledge from years of fishing had convinced him that there was nothing to catch that night. Peter outsmarted himself and because of his inward thinking was brought to nothing when he hauled in so many fish that his nets were tearing.
Instead of trying to figure everything out and know the mind of God – which we cannot, we should instead become like children, having complete faith in the Gospel of Christ with the openness and love of a child. We should not overthink things that are beyond us. We should not try to reason God’s involvement in our lives or why things happen the way they do. Let Go and Let God!
Like a child who believes that their parents can do anything, especially comfort and protect us, we should have the same simple faith in God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. As Jesus explained, having love and faith like a child, with complete trust in God, is the way to enter the kingdom of heaven.