Jesus was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.’ ‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.’ And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.
When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.’ Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him. Luke 5
The painting is The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, by Jacopo Bassano, 1545, oil on canvas, courtesy of the NGA in Washington.
Canon Paul writes:
Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and Lent begins. It will be a time for the mercy of God to touch each of our lives during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis says this: “The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy. How many pages of scripture are appropriate for meditation during the weeks of Lent to help us rediscover the merciful face of the Father! We can repeat the words of the prophet Micah and make them our own: “You, O Lord, are a God who takes away iniquity and pardons sins, who does not hold your anger forever, but are pleased to show mercy. You, Lord, will return to us and have pity on your people. You will trample down our sins to the depths of the sea.”
So how do we live more intensely this privileged moment of mercy? There are a number of ways. Here are a few:
- Find time each day for prayer;
- Restore the balance between work, rest and recreation:
- Tackle potential or real addiction;
- Deepen our love for others;
- Renew our commitment to weekly Sunday Mass and
- Plan to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during Lent.
Many are anxious about the celebration of Reconciliation, either because of childhood memories or because of having not practised it for a long time. Don’t be anxious and have no fear. Priests have been told firmly by Pope Francis to be “Ministers of Mercy”. Don’t worry about being unfamiliar with what happens. The priest is there to help and to facilitate this renewing and healing encounter with Jesus. PJT
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated Every Saturday of the Year between 11.30am and 12.30pm and between 4.30 and 5.00pm
Monday 8th February – Year of Mercy Bible Study – ‘Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy’. The Prophets afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, calling us to return to our relationship with God. We read with the heart and not just the mind to discover the messages sent by God through his Prophets and how they speak to us today. Monday evenings, Pastoral Centre, 7.30pm running till Easter. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday 10th February is Ash Wednesday. Masses in St. Peter’s will be at 7.30am, 12.15pm and 7.30pm. Mass in St. Gregory’s will be at 10.30am. Liturgy of the Word with distribution of Ashes at St Stephen’s will be at 10.30am.
Wednesday 10th February – PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF TIME – ‘Catholicism’ – The Church. Robert Barron looks at ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’ Church whilst in Rome, New York, Sao Paolo, Manila, Namugongo and Uganda. We will start at 6.45pm in the Pastoral Centre and break for Mass at 7.30 and continue the session after Mass until about 9.30pm. email@example.com. You are welcome to come and drop in to any of these sessions.
Saturday 13th February – Youthcat 10.30am to 12.30pm in the Pastoral Centre. Children in Yrs 4, 5 & 6 are welcome to join the fun activities at this month’s YouthCat session with the focus on the Bible. YouthCat children who are now in Yr7 are very welcome to come along as Young Leaders or to get involved in their own discussion group. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesdays, 17th and 24th February, 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd March – “Let my prayer arise before you like incense” (Ps, 141:2). You are all invited to spend an hour with the Lord between 7.30 and 8.30pm in St. Peter’s Church during Lent: There will be appropriate devotions and prayers. Please sign your name on the sheet at back of the church.