Homily – May 5, 2019

Think on this. Jesus came to his disciples in the midst of their work. Peter announced to his friends, ‘I’m going fishing.’ He had a business to run and a family to feed. His fellow fisherman agreed to go with him. They would share the catch.

Fishing at night on the open sea would be cold. It turned out to be a failed venture. They caught nothing. They probably argued among themselves about where there was a good place to fish. They may have been short tempered after this night of failure.

In the midst of all this Jesus calls to them from the shore. He knows they caught nothing, they’re discouraged and ill-tempered. He encourages them to give it another try,’ cast your nets to your right.’ They are gifted by a huge catch of fish; their nets were endangered of breaking.

Next, Jesus prepares breakfast for them. They’d be starving after this long cold night.

Jesus comes to each of us in our work, no matter how important, no matter how ordinary our tasks. We’ve all heard the word, burnout. Burn out is not the result of too much work, burn out is the result of a work that does not vitalize us, work from which we see no returns, work from which we get no positive feedback, no recognition.

When I was stationed at our retreat house at Port Burwell there was a young man on retreat who was a high school teacher. I presumed that teaching teenager must be a thankless task. He told me he couldn’t wait to get back to school on Monday morning to be with his students. He said he felt guilty taking his pay check because he enjoyed his work so much. That man will never suffer burn out.

But how many people do jobs, have careers or professions that are just jobs, jobs that enable them to raise a family and lower a mortgage but jobs that lack a challenge, lack excitement. There is a story told of three men working on a massive building project, maybe the building of Notre Dame. That took over 200 years. They were asked ‘what are you doing?’ one answered, I’m carrying a stone.’ Another answered, ‘I’m feeding my family.’ The third answered, “I’m building a cathedral.’ He saw himself involved in a project he would never see finished but he saw himself as an important part of it.

No matter what our work we are involved in God’s ongoing work of creation. Creation is an activity of all men and women who work no matter esteemed or belittled that work may seem to others, it is still God’s work. The work each one of us does echoes the glorious work of God’s ongoing creation; even a wasted night fishing on a cold sea.

Christ comes to us not only in our work but he comes to us in the men and women with whom we work. They may be people, who need our guidance, or people who support us, or people who challenge us, even people who test our patience. In these good people Christ tests our willingness to be open minded, to be supportive, to be patient even forgiving. But try to remember, your work is a sacred reality, a sacred activity. God’s work must truly be our own.

Maybe you could think on this as you head for work tomorrow morning.