What’s the ‘catch’ at Medjugorje?

Today’s Gospel reading (Luke 5 : 1-11) describes how Jesus, after speaking to the crowds from Simon Peter’s boat, instructed the disciples to cast their nets into deep water. The catch was a huge number of fish. So large was the catch that a call was put out to companions in another boat to come and assist. Peter, who had earlier doubted there would be any fish to find, fell on his knees, recognising his sinfulness, and wept.

This is a wonderful illustration of all that is happening at Medjugorje. The message of Our Lady is given to the people who gather to listen and have come in search of Jesus. The catch is significant. Many fall to their knees, recognising their sinfulness and weep openly. They repeat Peter’s words: “Lord I am a sinner.” And they desire to confess and reconcile with the Lord.

But the Franciscans who pastor the Medjugorje parish are few in number. They are unable to cope with the demand for confession and reconciliation that has resulted from the Gospel message brought by Our Lady and the Holy Spirit. They ask for help from companions in other boats, also fishers of men, to assist with the catch and reconcile the people to God.

Visiting priests to Medjugorje are often overcome by the volume of pilgrims seeking the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Nothing like this happens back home. They have fished all night, in darkness, and caught nothing. Their boat is empty and redundant, harboured in shallow water. Their call to the people is unheard.

But from Medjugorje, the call is heard, people are listening, the fish are hungry for the Word. Here Jesus continues with his miracles, especially renewal in faith. That is why Our Lady says: “Thank you for responding to my call.” This is why the boat of St James at Medjugorje is always full, even sometimes to sinking point.

Now he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank. The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats – it was Simon’s – and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied “we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.” And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when they came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, “Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made, so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on it is ment that you will catch.” Then bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

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