This weekends reading reminds us of our baptismal call. The first reading from the book Isaiah explains his vision of the heavenly temple, the first divine revelation Isaiah received, and calls for God’s mission. Isaiah is caught up to the heavenly temple in the year of King Uzziah’s death, where he beholds God’s glory and the ministry of the six-winged seraphim. We read in the second book of Kings 6, the building of the Jerusalem Temple. A high and lofty throne: within the holy of holies of the Jerusalem Temple stood two cherubim, or winged sphinxes, whose outstretched wings served as the divine throne (1King 6:23).
When he received the call, Isaiah expressed his unworthiness and said “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” But a seraph purifies his lips with a coal from the heavenly altar. After the purification, Isaiah volunteered to answer the divine call and said, “Here am I! Send me!” Isaiah was called to bring the people of Israel and Judah to trust in the Lord. Those days the chosen people of God were divided into two: the northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah. They were cooperating with neighboring kingdoms to strengthen their safety, instead of trusting in the Lord. Isaiah was sent to bring them to the Lord and remind them to trust in the Lord.
The Gospel story takes place by the sea of Galilee, where the manifestation of Jesus’ divine power. The story of the miraculous catch of fish, Simon Peter recognizes his unworthiness, and calls for discipleship. Peter said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. Jesus' answer to him was, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Then they left everything and followed Jesus. Christ’s call for his first disciples show the essence of vocation. True discipleship shows radical detachment. It is the call of the first three: Peter, James and John, (Luke 5:1-11) and it is evident that there is a special relationship with Peter.
Like Isaiah, Peter recognizes his unworthiness. But Jesus accepted him and prepared him to be the fishers of men. We know the rest of the story of Peter. One time proclaimed, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Another time he denied Jesus and said, “I do not know the man” (Matthew 26:72).
The miraculous catch of fish in today’s Gospel is similar to John 21:1-11 Jesus’ appearance to disciples after the resurrection. In both passages Jesus asked Peter to lower the net for a catch. First, Peter said to Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am sinful man” (Luke 5:8) and after the second miraculous catch in John 21:1-11, Peter said, “It is the Lord” (John 21:7) and sprang into the sea. Here in the passage we can see the real transformation of Peter.
What does our discipleship look like? What is our story? We might have gone through lots of low and high moments. Like Isaiah and Peter, we might have felt our unworthiness. The second reading from St. Paul to Corinthians 15:1-11 reminds us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died for our sins and was raised from the dead. Let us give ourselves to the Lord, he makes us worthy and prepares us to proclaim the Gospel and make his name known and loved.