April 13, 2012 - Friday in the Octave of Easter

Today's Readings

Earlier in the Gospels, Jesus warned his disciples that, when they had to defend themselves before judges for being Christians, they should not prepare their statement beforehand. The Holy Spirit would inspire them on the spot, he promised. We see that promise fulfilled today. Peter and John stand before the impressive Sanhedrin and they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter speaks eloquently. The speech of this fisherman surely impressed those who thought that he would look like a fool.

In the Gospel, Peter and John go out fishing but they catch nothing. Jesus comes along and recommends the other side of the boat and they catch 153 large fish. We cannot do anything without God's help, not even fishing, which was Peter and John's specialty. We can try of course. We might occasionally succeed accidentally, but there is a world of difference between our own feeble efforts and what could be accomplished if we relied on God.

God knows the best way to do anything. He knows the best time to do it. He knows the best place to do it. If I want to convert the world, I could work my whole life with very little success. Think of the difference between a person guessing at the right answer to a difficult math problem and a person who can actually solve the problem. Imagine who you could convert if you were in the right place at exactly the right time and said the right thing to the right person. It would seem like magic.

Of course there is another side to this: God knows the right person for every job. If we decide which jobs we are going to do ourselves, we will choose wrongly. If God is going to have the right time and place and way, he is also going to have the right person. We are not the right people for every work that God wants accomplished. When we see a miracle done, we should be glad that God was able to use the right person. We should certainly not be jealous that God is doing great work with someone else. God has work that he wants us to accomplish. It may not be the sort of work which is considered important in this world. That does not matter. Let us be faithful servants, doing whatever work the Master Planner gives to us, with his help and guidance.