Today the gospel narratives from the Evangelist Luke begin to be heralded. And as He invites the disciples to follow him, He calls upon them to manifest living faith. "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets" Luke 5: 4. Nature groans and suffers as a result of the fall of humanity (Romans 8: 22), but remains obedient to the voice of the Master. Creation may be marred by sin, but it is not deaf to the Creator. Nature's awesome power instantly yielded to the instructions of Jesus. Like the disciples, today ordinary people give mixed reaction to the words of Jesus, but winds and waves and even the depths of the sea obey. People cling to old wineskins while ordinary water gleefully becomes wine. Dried fish and crusty loaves multiplied in a small cascade of food enough to fill and satisfy a multitude. Fish find their way to either side of the boat and waiting nets.
The power of our Lord over nature carries quiet, sure demeanor. His actions are deft. It was not so much his command or his prayer that got the attention of the people; it was what happened after He spoke. Today we see our Lord as the on-going Creator and we visualize the effects of his authority in our lives as well. We are taught today to listen for his voice. We witness today the power beyond and above nature that chooses to work within it. He gives credibility to the good news He comes to proclaim.
Even the Birthgiver of God at the marriage celebration in Cana of Galilee did not understand what Jesus was going to do, even when it appeared He refused her request. But that perception is not at all the important thing which is that Mary believed him and in him. So much that that she turned to the servers and told them to do whatever Jesus told them to do. Mary had the faith which could trust and believe even when it did not understand. She did not know what Jesus was going to do, but she was quite certain that He would do the right thing. In every life come periods of darkness when we do not see why they come about or what meaning they inherently have. But happy is the man who in such cases still trusts when he cannot possibly grasp or understand, content that God is God and knows what He is doing.
Seemingly hesitant at first, the disciples today evidence submission to the will of the Lord. After God is glorified, the natural reaction of Peter is made known and He asks the Lord to leave since he rightly senses himself an unworthy sinner who does not belong in the presence of Christ. It is as if saying as they did on another occasion, "Lord, increase our faith" Luke 17: 5.
Did they forget what He taught, "According to your faith, let it be done to you"? We are afraid of these words because if genuine faith is necessary, the lack of it in our lives means we will be failures and thus utterly destroyed. We know the enemy often comes and sows tares in the harvest of the Lord. Nothing is better than a pure heart that believes the mystery of God. However, it is difficult as we saw today to find undoubting faith in our Creator God.
So how do we pray? St. Jerome writes for our benefit: "Suppose I stood to pray. I could not pray if I did not believe. But if I really believed, I would cleanse my heart and beat my chest. The tears would stream down my cheeks, my body would shudder, my face grow pale. I would lie at the feet of my Lord, weep over them, and wipe them with my hair. I would cling to the cross and not let go until I received mercy, but as it is, in my prayers I am often either walking between shops, calculating my own interests, or being carried away by evil thoughts. My mind becomes occupied with things that when they are merely mentioned make me blush. Where is our faith? Should we assume that Jonah prayed like this? Or the three youths? Or Daniel in the lion's den? Or the robber on the cross? Instead, let all people examine their own hearts. They will find how rare it is to find a soul so faithful that it does not do anything out of love for glory or because of people's petty gossip."
Let us be taught today to always concentrate on the invisible things of God, spiritual values. We will not understand these values through his creation anymore, but as disciples who are faithful, we will see them "face to face." For when that which is perfect comes among us, then that which is imperfect or purely physical, will be done away with.