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Put Out into the Deep: New Evangelization and Christian Mission

Thursday, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Colossians 1:9-14 & Luke 5: 1 – 11

Reflection Date: September 2, 2021

Our task, no matter our state in life or vocation, is to be missionaries in every nation and culture. That understanding lies at the heart of what it means to be a Christian - we carry forward in time the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ. All Christians need to "put out into the deep" and lower our nets for a catch.

Our hearts ring out with the words of Jesus when one day, after speaking to the crowds from Simon's boat, he invited the Apostle to "put out into the deep" for a catch: "Duc in Altum" (Luke 5:4). "Peter and his first companions trusted Christ's words and cast the nets. "When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish" (Luke 5: 6). Duc in Altum!

These words ring out for us today, and they invite us to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm, and to look forward to the future with confidence: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13)

Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed: "Peter's call to be a shepherd...comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish... There too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: "Master, at your word, I will let down the nets." And then came the conferral of his mission: "Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men" (Luke 5: 1 - 11).

Today too, the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, to win men and women over to the Gospel - to God, to Christ, to true life."

We must cultivate a missionary spirit. The Church can carry out the needed evangelical work. She is the Body of the Risen Christ, called to carry on His redemptive mission and continue His presence on this earth as a universal sign and sacrament. She is the missionary agent and the seed and beginning of the kingdom of God.

All Christians need to "put out into the deep" and lower our nets for a catch. The Lord of the harvest is calling workers for the New Evangelization of His Church. Then, he calls all of the loyal sons and daughters of His Church into a new missionary age. Let us respond generously.

Joseph Cardozo SJ | Contributor

 

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