By: His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
In today’s Gospel reading St. Peter with the rest of the holy Apostles were astonished at the catch of fish which they had caught. Christ our Lord had sat in St. Peter’s boat and was teaching the people. The Disciples had worked very hard all night long, but they had caught nothing. St. Peter at the commandment of Christ let down the net and then God’s blessings came, for "they caught a great number of fish" (Luke 5:6).
Obedience to God’s Will is man’s first and foremost duty. Second most important is to carry out His Divine Commandments. The godly man strives to conform himself to whatever God wishes. Man through obedience to God identifies himself with God, and his will with God’s Divine Will.
The holy Apostle Peter at the greatest moment of his difficult hours of disappointment and depression, showed obedience to Christ. The result is obvious. God blesses the work of all those who struggle with honesty.
In our daily struggle to survive there are some moments, when we feel let down. Many times despair and dissolution overcome our hearts, when we hope for some things that do not come right.
How many times do we turn to God and not see any results? Did God not hear our prayers? Is He relaxing in His Heavenly Kingdom and does not care for us? No! The answer to these questions lie in that we must not only turn to God, but we must also learn to trust God.
St. Peter not only accepted Christ in his fishing boat, but also showed absolute obedience to His commandment. Without a second discussion he threw the nets into the shallow waters of Gennesaret. Because of his obedience God blessed his work.
Now, how many times does it happen in our life that we accept Christ not in our boat, but in our hearts, but we are not obedient to Him? How many times do we say that we believe in the Lord, but, yet, we have not made the effort to bow and humble ourselves before Him? How many times do we pray to God, but within our hearts we do not learn to trust Him? How many times do we find ourselves in difficult situations and we ask for God’s help and assistance, but in reality we do not believe in His Providence? How many times do we believe that God will interfere, like magic, to fulfil our wishes? Finally, how many times, when we see no results of Divine intervention, we turn away from God?
St. Peter was blessed, because he showed obedience to Christ. God’s blessings came as the result of Peter’s obedience to His Will. The miracle at Gennesaret came about because of St. Peter’s faithfulness. St. Peter knew very well, being an experienced fisherman, that there could be no fish in the shallow waters of Gennesaret. All night long he worked with his collaborafors and, yet, they caught nothing. But, he showed obedience to Christ’s word and he let down the nets. For Christ’s sake he did not hesitate. He did not say, that ‘We are wasting our time’. He just obeyed and trusted Christ’s word.
We all work hard. We all run here and there and we struggle to build up our businesses. Some even work after hours even at night. We all strive for our daily bread. But, how many times do we lack success? One works for so many years and puts in his work so much time and money, but at the end he sees everything collapsing. What is the reason? Is it because there is lack of cleverness? Is it because of lack of interest or concern for one’s work? Is it because of evil men sabotaging the work of others? All these reasons are possible. But, the main reason is the lack of true faith and trust in God.
In our times, man has learned not to trust God or anyone else, but only himself. We have not surrendered ourselves completely to God’s Divine Providence or we lack of true faith. This is one of the main reason why many Christians do not come every Sunday to Church.
Lack of faith is the spiritual illness of today’s society. Lack of faith has as its result that we do not pray every day or even if we do so, then our hearts are not turned to God, but wonder here and there. Lack of faith is the reason why we do not obey God’s Commandments and we do not trust ourselves in His Will. Lack of faith is the reason why man does not believe in God and His Teachings. Lack of faith is the reason why man turns to evil deeds and is disobedient to God’s Word.
If we wish to have God’s blessings in our homes, our works and our lives, then we have to turn to Him, bow before Him and trust ourselves to His Divine Providence. Let us imitate St. Peter’s example. Let us show trust and faith in Christ, our Lord and Savior. Let us practice God’s Commandments. Let us be obedient to His Divine Will. This way of life will bring upon us God’s blessings. This is the way for our salvation, to be before God and surrender ourselves to Him.