Jesus is always moving into people’s space – coming up to them and speaking directly, asking what they want. In this case, he gets into Simon’s boat and tells him what to do to catch fish. What must have gone through Simon’s mind? Who is this guy telling me, a master fisherman, how to catch fish – and in my own boat! This is just one example of Jesus’ pattern of getting into people’s space and changing their lives.
And the other part of the pattern is familiar: we become afraid and want to move away. Simon does this because he feels unworthy…”I am a sinful man.” Perhaps Simon is afraid of Jesus’ care and generosity because he knows that, once Jesus finds out how sinful he is, Jesus will reject him. And Simon will be hurt by this, so it is easier to just push away from God’s presence.
What are some ways that I reject God before God can really get to know me for who I really am?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is the peripatetic and gracious minister of the Jesuit community at Loyola University Chicago.