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5th Sunday, Ordinary Time

A few years ago, I was in a boat in the Lake of Galilee, together with some of my parishioners during a pilgrimage. It was a quiet Sunday morning and the calm waters were refreshing to the soul. As we read this same gospel, I began reflecting on the message of the Lord. What was the Lord trying to tell me, to tell us, as he revealed himself in this miracle to the disciples.

Then it dawned on me that the Lord is not satisfied with failure. As he listened to the woes in the words of Simon Peter, Jesus was disturbed. This was not how things should be. The sea, not yielding a rich catch of fish? For him it was absurd. God has planned human labor to be richly compensated.

So Jesus challenged Simon to venture once again into the deep. What followed made Simon shake with amazement and unworthiness. He just had the biggest catch of his life. Finally Jesus was satisfied because the plan of God materialized in the life of Simon and his disciples. Now, they were ready to discover more miracles in their lives!

God has a grandiose, ambitious plan for all of us. He points to us how great our potentials are. This plan is for fruitfulness, for progress, for healing, for joy and success. God’s design is for us to be successful and fruitful.

The problem at times is that, we do not listen to the Lord enough. When relationships fail, when finances reach rock-bottom, when our plans are shattered, when the future seems dark, we resign ourselves to our fate. Like the disciples, we just quietly wash our nets on the shore. But the Lord tells us never to give up. He charges us to go back to the waters and try another time, to try harder, to try with all our might until we return home successfully. If God believes in us, should we not also believe in ourselves?

The first requirement of success is perseverance and not surrender. We need to believe in our dreams and believe in ourselves. Our response to tragedies must first of all, be courage.

But that is not all. The disciples were also courageous, hardworking fishermen. Still, their attempt that day yielded nothing. Soon, they will discover the more important secret of all successful actions. The disciples could not haul a rich catch of fish when they were fishing all by themselves. But the moment Jesus joined them in the boat, good fortune was on their side. Though Jesus was not fisherman, he gave the directions. They allowed him to be in-charge. Listening to him in humility, the disciples got their miracle.

To be successful, it is not enough to be self-confident. The presence of Jesus is crucial in ensuring our success. We clung to our faith in the killer typhoons last year. The Haitians prayed the rosary after the killer earthquake there. As Christians, we never cease to call on the Lord in the most daunting moments of life. As both experiences show, recovery is already on the way.

Believe in yourself and take Jesus as your partner in the voyage of life.