“Being aware that one’s greatest strength can also be the reason for one’s greatest fall, let us put to effect all our abilities for His Kingdom by totally depending on Him and being focussed on our Crucified Risen Lord!”
(Based on Acts 4:1-12 and Jn 21:1-14)
Every person’s life consists of various strengths, talents, abilities and aptitudes.
These strengths and talents help a person to achieve triumphs in life.
These abilities and aptitudes push the person to climb up higher the ladder of success.
However, it is said that “one’s greatest strength can also be the reason for one’s greatest fall!”
Sometimes strengths and abilities themselves can become….
… the reason for great depressions in life
… the gateway to a person to being tempted into false ways
… the entrance for a person to abandon one’s true calling and vocation of life
The Gospel of the Day is a strong picturisation of this aspect with the person of Peter, the prime Apostle of Jesus, in focus.
We are in the last chapter of the Gospel of St John – Chapter Twenty-One.
The chapter describes another post-resurrection account of the appearance of Jesus.
The disciples have been greatly disturbed and devastated by the death of their Master, Jesus.
Perhaps, all their hopes were crashed
… all their aspirations had sunk.
Then, Peter, perhaps filled with greater sorrow than others, makes an important statement, “I am going fishing” (Jn 21:3)
He would have been more sorrowful because the Lord had always accorded special attention to him.
He would have been more tearful than others because he was the one who had primarily and publicly denied his Master.
And so he takes another lead
… this time, however, away from the Lord
… “to go fishing.”
In Mt 4:19, we read that Peter had received the glorious vocation of following the Lord
…”Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
This was the vocation of Peter
… This was his calling
… to follow Jesus closely and personally and intimately
… to be a fisher of people, for the Kingdom of God.
But when faced with the greatest crisis of his life, he sought comfort and refuge, in what was probably, humanly speaking, his greatest strength – fishing!
All through his life, Peter was probably living close to the sea.
He knew the depths and the breadth of the waters.
They gave him a great deal of energy.
They filled him with a fresh dose of enthusiasm.
Fishing was his great strength.
Fishing was his way of life.
Fishing was his big asset.
However, at the call of the Lord, Peter had given up this “earthly” asset and strength to embark through “newer” waters of life with the “Great Fisherman of Galilee.”
The Lord had given him a “higher” vocation
… to become fishers of people.
But now Peter, dejected and depressed, “leaves” this Divine vocation and goes back to his earthly strength and livelihood – fishing.
His strength and ability of fishing had become
… the reason for great depressions in his spiritual life
… the gateway to being tempted into false ways, leaving the way of the Lord
… the entrance for him, to abandon his true vocation of life of being fishers of people
“One’s greatest strength can also be the reason for one’s greatest fall”!
But once again, the Lord comes to the rescue
… He had called Peter, for the first time, by the Sea of Galilee by a miraculous catch of fish (Lk 5: 1-11)
He now again calls Peter, by the Sea of Galilee – by a miraculous catch of fish.
… calls him to renew his commitment and love for the Lord
… calls him to go back to his vocation and give up his life for him
… calls him to leave his “earthly strength” of fishing, and to depend totally on the Lord!
The danger that Peter faced in his life can be a danger for us too
Our greatest strength can also be the reason for our greatest fall!
What is the greatest strength of our lives?
Money? Prestige? Talents? Abilities? Self-Confidence?
Sometimes we find, that the very talents and abilities, by which we do the works, of the Lord, may themselves, become great snares of temptations
We, therefore, need to be on the watch always… be on guard at all times!
Sure, that it is the Lord Himself who has blessed us with various talents.
But all our capabilities need to find its source, strength and continuity, in and by the Lord.
St Peter discovered the beauty and power of putting His whole trust in the Lord…
… and so He becomes a courageous and bold witness of the Resurrection of the Lord, even in the face of tremendous persecution.
In the presence of the mighty and dominant Jewish leaders – Rulers, Elders, and Scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family – Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit makes a valiant confession:
“Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed…
… let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead!
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved!” (Acts 4: 8-10, 12)
Many of us can find similarity to the Life of St Peter.
Like him, we too may have our own moments of struggles, failures and weaknesses.
Yet – trusting in the Power of the Risen Lord – let us allow the Lord to fill our hearts with His
Love and may we wholly trust in him!
Let us put to effect all the abilities that the good Lord has blessed us with, for His Kingdom
… and may we always be focussed on our Crucified Lord and be single-minded in our love for the Lord.
Happy Easter to all of you!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us be what God wishes, since we are entirely devoted to Him, and would not wish to be anything contrary to His will…