Well, maybe the third time will be the charm. For some reason, Word shut itself down, and I lost what I had written. The second time was more aggravating because I was almost finished! Bless me Father for I have sinned … I used some bad language.
Those failures were ironic and timely because the reflection I had been writing dealt with Sunday’s Gospel. Peter and his crew had been fishing all night, and had absolutely nothing to show for their labors. No doubt his frustration level was high, and he was tired. So when Jesus asked him to put out into deeper water and put down the nets again, Peter’s rely had notes of weary skepticism. But he listened … tried … and was rewarded with an immense catch of fish.
The same thing holds true in Sunday’s other readings. Isaiah is weary and frustrated; people just will not listen to him. Paul had his own failures with the Gentiles, and was constantly battling the Jewish Christians. But both men kept going.
We’ve all had failures. Some were major (business, marriage, health); others were more piddly (like this computer thing), but no less aggravating. High hopes give way to deep sighs. The beauty of a day is lost in a foggy interior miasma. In today’s economic climate, job seekers have an especially deep identification with Peter; some days it’s all they can do to get up and try again.
Unfortunately, failure is part and parcel of the human experience. We are not responsible for everything that happens in our lies, for we are sinful broken people living in a sinful broken world. Some tend to blame God for it, but God has no part in whether we fail or succeed. Our success or failure is not God’s responsibility … it’s ours … we are responsible for our response to the curve balls and bean balls of life.
This is the challenge of faith. Doctrines or creeds will not help us face adversity, but only faith and trust in a God who has promised never to abandon us. Faith is how we act in life. The only way to face life is with the belief that “With God, all things are possible.” Or, as my spiritual director always tells me, “Act is if everything depends on you; pray as if everything depends on God.”
Now, let’s see if I can fix this darn computer!!!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.