The Sunday before last the Holy Church offered for our attention the parable about the talents. A talent is that strength which God gives to us for the fulfillment of His commandments of love for God and neighbor. Last Sunday showed us the application of this talent to our life. A mother had a possessed daughter. The mother rushed to Christ: “Help me!” (Mt. 15:25). But Christ was silent. Then the Apostles started to speak to Christ, pointing out this Canaanite woman. Christ answered them: But I have come to the children. “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs” (Mt. 15:26). The Canaanite woman cried: “Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table,” (Mt. 15:27). At this moment her consciousness was completely filled with humility; and in answer to this most profound humility, the Lord took pity on her and said: “O woman, great is thy faith: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt” (Mt. 15:28).
And here, today’s Gospel about the miraculous catch of fish shows us how that same talent (according to the Gospel’s expression, used in “trade” (Mt. 25:16), which means applied to life) is manifested in absolute obedience and trust in the word of the Lord and produces the fruit of faith. But what is faith? What does the process of faith consist of? We are given the answer to this in today’s Gospel (Lk. 5:1-11).
Christ was preaching on the lake of Gennesaret. Now the sermon has finished. There were two boats at the shore, and Christ had been preaching from one of them. Here He addressed the Apostle Peter and said: “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets.” Peter answered: “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing” (Lk. 5:4-5). And the Apostles were experienced fishermen; they knew the laws of the sea. If at night-time no fish were caught, then during the day a catch was out of the question. And Peter said this to Christ. But he added: “Nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the nets” (Lk. 5:5). And they let them down. And a miracle happened. The boats were so filled with fish that they started to sink. Then the Apostle Peter fell at the feet of the Savior and said: “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Lk. 5:8).
This is the process of faith. The Apostle knew that fish could not be caught. But he accepted the word of Christ within himself, within his will; and this will, which by now was Christ’s, he fulfilled. And what happened? A miracle? Yes, a miracle. But the main miracle was not in the abundance offish, although this catch was a miracle. The main miracle was the change of soul which occurred in Peter. He saw himself, he saw his essence. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Here is the process of faith: to accept in your heart the word of Christ, to fulfill it. And then to us will be revealed the thing which is most important for our salvation, for our inner life.
People say: I do not believe. What do these words mean? They mean that you are not fulfilling the teaching of Christ. Because if you would only attempt to fulfill the word of Christ, at least one commandment of Christ, then the essence of your life would be revealed to you, too. But you don’t want to do this, and therefore you say: I have no faith. But how does one make an attempt? Well, the same way the Apostle Peter did. In spite of all his experience as a fisherman, he listened to Christ and let down the nets. Listen to the word of Christ. But where do we find this word? In the Gospel — that is where. If we know the Gospel and apply it to our life, then our life in Christ will be revealed to us. And His Resurrection will become for us more real than the physical world surrounding us. And He will fill our heart with an unspeakable joy, with the joy of Eternal Life; and this joy will have no end.
Only take the Gospel in your hands, only try to apply it in your life. Take everything which the Holy Church gives us. Then a miracle will happen to you, too — ^greater miracle than the wonderful catch. Christ Himself will be revealed to you as He was revealed to Peter. Then you too will say deep in your heart: “I am a sinful man, O Lord!” And if you are a sinner, it means that you are sick and need a physician. And if a physician, then who is the Physician of the heart? Christ alone!
O Lord, Thou seest the infirmities and the wounds of sin in our heart, which prevent us from fulfilling Thy teaching, Thy Word. Heal us and help us to start a New Life!