Eighteenth Sunday 

After Pentecost

The Miraculous Draught of Fish

Luke 5:1-11


Luke 5:1-11

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the
word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, {2} And saw two ships
standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were
washing their nets.  {3} And he entered into one of the ships, which was
Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land.
And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. {4} Now when he
had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let
down your nets for a draught. {5} And Simon answering said unto him,
Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing:
nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. {6} And when they had
this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net
brake. {7} And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the
other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and
filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. {8} When Simon Peter
saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a
sinful man, O Lord. {9} For he was astonished, and all that were with
him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: {10} And so was
also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with
Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt
catch men. {11} And when they had brought their ships to land, they
forsook all, and followed him.


In the name of the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.  Today
is the eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, and also today we commemorate
the conception of the Honorable Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.
The Gospel for this day is from the Evangelist Luke, and is about the
miraculous draught of fish.  This parable has much to teach us, if we
read it carefully, and with Fathers as our guide, and with prayer.  

What is the reason why the Lord did what he did?  At the end of the
story, we see that he says to the Apostle, or rather, the Apostle to be
-- Simon Peter, that ?from henceforth thou shalt catch men.¦ This
miracle was, as all of His other miracles were, a demonstration of His
power, and His authority.  ?By what authority doest thou these things? 
and who gave thee this authority?¦, said the Pharisees in their
stupidity, because they had seen many of the miracles, but they did not
understand, but those who understood saw what authority He had.  He was
the One who could raise the dead, make the blind see, and the lame walk.
 He could still the waves, or provide abundantly in fish and bread for a
multitude.  He showed forth plainly His authority and his reliability by
these miracles.  

Our Lord is along the Lake of Gennesaret, which is by a fishing village.
 Simon Peter and many of the other apostles were fishermen.  They had
fished all night -- that was their typical method of fishing in those
days, and they had caught nothing.  Fishing was a very difficult craft
back then, since the fish could easily escape from the nets, and the
nets broke easily.  The fishermen would spend all day mending their
nets, and all night fishing, and in this case, they had caught nothing. 

In the morning, Our Lord is along the shore, and He decides to get into
a ship to thrust out a little from the land, and feed the people there
with His sweet words.  There is an allegory here, in His being a little
way off the shore, and teaching from a ship.  The ship is the church and
the Apostles and Christ were within the ship while He taught.  Therefore
His words, and subsequently, the Apostle-s words, are the teaching of
the church.  His being a little way off the land had a practical reason
-- if He had launched out deep into the waters, nobody would have been
able to hear Him.  The spiritual meaning is this v He launched out a
?little¦ into the water because later the Apostles would launch out into
the deep, and spread the gospel to the far ends of the earth.  He
Himself told them: ?Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on
me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these
shall he do," and indeed the Church has done greater works than Christ
did.  Many men, women and children have come to the saving knowledge of
Jesus Christ through the efforts of those in the church.  Many more
miracles have occurred.  Many more have been raised from the dead, and
many more of the lame have walked than Christ even saw.  They did
greater works, and our Lord prepared them for their works, both by this
teaching a little ways from the land, when they were yet babes, and not
even yet His Apostles, and by His entire life, by showing them how to
live, to act, to think, to react to things.  He also taught them in
privacy many things, so that they would know how to govern the church.  

After He finishes his teaching, He says unto Simon: ?Launch out into the
deep, and let down your nets for a draught.¦  The nets are the gospel,
that the Apostles would spread, then their Apostles, followed by their
Apostles, and so on.  The deep is where the world is floundering, where
people are drowning and have no belief, or are in ignorance, or despair
or despondency, or are addicted to sins.  They do not know Christ, and
their life is in an uproar and in turmoil as if they are tossed in
waves, and are drowning, and our Lord says to go out into the deep to
save them.  We still go out into the deep to this day, with the very
same nets of the Gospel, and in accordance to the teachings of the

Simon answers him and says: ?Master, we have toiled all the night, and
have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.¦
These are not words of disbelief, but they are words of simple
obedience, from a man who was tired and had been up all night, and taken
nothing.  He mentions this almost parenthetically to our Lord, and the
Apostle to be Peter-s words teach us something else very important.  

Are you ever tired, or despondent, or do your emotions ever play tricks
with you?  It doesn-t matter.  If you have faith, you live as a man with
faith.  Regardless of whether you are happy or sad, tired or not tired,
you just obey.  Even when things seem pointless, or hopeless, you know
that they cannot in reality be pointless or hopeless, because you know
Who it is who is telling you to do this thing.  If the Lord tells you to
do something, then you do it, because you know that He will bless it.  

When the Apostles had fished all the previous night, they had done so
without God-s help.  He was not in the boat with them, and he had not
told them to go out and let down their nets for a draught.  It was not
that they were being disobedient, after all they were fishermen, and
that was their craft, but when Christ blessed their endeavors, and told
them to do something, and was with them in the midst of their efforts,
then they had a miraculous catch.

And they enveloped a great multitude of fishes and their net brake. 
There is another time in the Gospels when a great miracle happened and a
great multitude of fishes was caught, a hundred and fifty and three and
yet was their net not broken. This is given in the Gospel of Saint John,
and is one of the eleven matinal resurrection gospels, and it is full of
deep meaning.  The Apostles were babes when their net brake, because
they had not absorbed all the teachings of Christ, and changed the way
they thought and lived.  Until our Lord taught them by His words and
life, the Apostles were often at loggerheads and arguing with one
another about who was the greatest and all sorts of things.  Our Lord
worked with them for over three years, and they were made ready.  After
He had resurrected Himself and came back from the dead, He then stood at
the shore and said: ?Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye
shall find.¦, and they caught a hundred and fifty and three fishes, and
yet the net was not broken.  God-s mercy is limitless.  He can fill us
abundantly, and we will never break, but there must be a period of
preparation in our lives.  There is effort involved, to become pliable,
and to make us able to contain Him, and not break, as He fills us.  

At this point in the Apostle-s lives, they were not quite ready for all
the abundance that God had prepared for them.  At this point in our
lives, we are not ready for the abundance that God gives to us v not
yet.  We have more living to do, more repenting to do, and more living
in the context of the church to do.  So the Apostles beckoned to their
partners that were in another boat, that they should come and help them.
 This shows the cooperation in the church, and unity, to accomplish that
which God intends for us.  God fills us so abundantly that we will
always have work to do in the church.  

Simon Peter saw what had happened, and it touched him to the core. 
Peter was a sensitive man.  He might have had hard and callused
fisherman-s hands, but he had the heart of a Saint.  His heart was soft.
 He realized that he was standing in the presence of God, in this boat,
with all these fish, and he said: ?Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord.¦ Much later on, he would not say such a thing, nor would
the other Apostles.  They dined with Him, after they had caught the
miraculous catch of a hundred and fifty and three fishes, because they
had been prepared by living a virtuous life, as Christ had progressively
revealed them how to live and how to believe while He walked the earth. 
We understand this dining with Christ to be an indication of extreme
intimacy with Him, which the pure in heart will obtain.  When a man
recognizes Christ, he should fall down before him, but indeed, not to
ask Him to depart, but to ask Him to come, to ask Him to fill.  Our
prayers are filled with these kinds of requests.  Have mercy on me,
enlighten me, vivify me, make me to see, make me to feel, make me to

Simon Peter was unworthy at that time, and well aware of his
unworthiness.  He had not been purified yet.  How in the world does one
become such that when we fall down before Christ, it is because of
adoration, and desire for Him, and not because of fear and shame over
our sins?  A key is seen in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians,
which is also read on this day.  

He says: ?He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he
which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.¦ In every page of
the scripture, there is this dynamic, that our knowledge should make us
act.  If we do not act in accordance with the knowledge we have been
given, then even that which we think we know will be taken away from us,
and we won-t know Christ, and He will not know us.  The Christian life
is a continual ascendancy, and continual changing of our lives.  We also
know in nature that if we sow only a few seeds, we will reap very
little, and if we do not turn the ground carefully, and manure it, and
water it, and weed it, and drive away predators from it, and hedge it
round about, then we will not have a worthwhile harvest.  This same
principle in nature is also true in our human nature.  If we do not
hedge round about God-s law in our hearts, and cleave to Him with every
ounce of our being, then we will not have a harvest either, at the end
of the world.  Our Lord will tell us that he does not know us, because
we have not become like Him. This is our task now, in the acquiring of
the Holy Spirit to become like Him.  It cannot be otherwise.  If a man
truly knows Christ, he will become like Him.  It is impossible not to

Are you amazed at God-s great work, here recounted?  When you hear of
this miracle, do you tremble, or is it just another story that you hear?
 Maybe you know these stories very well, and know that there so many
times when lepers were healed, and that there were two times when
multitudes were fed, one time over five thousand, with twelve baskets
left over, and another time over four thousand with seven baskets left
over.  If that is all the knowledge we have concerning these miracles,
then they have not touched us.  Our Lord is showing us v He is the Lord.
 He is all in all.  He is all we should desire.  He is all that is real
for us.  There is no other meaning to our life, except to acquire

Man is made to look out, and up.  See how our eyes are set.  We can look
up easily, unlike most of the other animals, and we can look out to
those around us.  If we sow sparingly, or uncheerfully, or not at all,
then we are not acting in accordance with our nature, with how we were
made.  As we look up to see God, we will naturally look out to see those
Whom He loves v His children.  If we do not do this, then we are liars,
and we do not tell the truth, as the Apostle John said in his first

 There is so much God wants to give us, and we cannot have this, unless
we open ourselves.  This is really quite easy!  It is not a difficult
task at all, if we have understanding.  We react to what God gives us,
that is all we need do.  We do not need to be original or search for
what to do, because He will show us, if we remain in the ship, that is,
the church, and react to those murmurings of the Holy Spirit that are
within our hearts.  If we start to react to Him, and live as He wants us
to live, then He fills us even more abundantly.  This is a principle
that is almost lost among most of the world that calls itself Christian.
 They don-t understand that to become like Christ is to make ourselves
able to have more knowledge of Christ v the very thing we say we want. 
?Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart
of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.¦ He
has prepared these things for us, and he prepares us for these things
through a slow process.  ?We love him, because he first loved us.¦, said
the Apostle, and we react to His love, a little more today, and more
tomorrow, and yet more the day after that.

Remember that Christianity is a moral life.  Christianity is amendment
of self, in keeping with how God reveals His commandments to us. 
Christianity is never static knowledge v ever.  There is nothing God
reveals that He does not want us to take action upon.  There is nothing
at all in the scriptures that we are not to react to.  

God help us.  God help us to build our virtues everyday, so that He can
fill us, and we can attain salvation.  Amen.  


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 This homily was transcribed from one given On September 6, 1996
according to the church calendar, being the Eighteenth Sunday after
Pentecost, and the day appointed for the commemoration of Conception of
the Holy, Forerunner of God, the Baptist John.  The Sunday Gospel is:
Luke 5:1-11. There are some stylistic changes and minor corrections made
and several footnotes have been added, but otherwise, it is essentially
in a colloquial, ?spoken¦ style. It is hoped that something in these
words will help and edify the reader, but a sermon read from a page
cannot enlighten a soul as much as attendance and reverent worship at
the Vigil service, which prepares the soul for the Holy Liturgy, and the
hearing of the scriptures and the preaching of them in the context of
the Holy Divine Liturgy. In such circumstances the soul is enlightened
much more than when words are read on a page.

 Matthew 5:10

 Matthew 21:23

 Matthew 5:3

 John 14:12

 Matthew 5:4

 Matthew 5:5

 John 21:11

 John 21:6

 Matthew 5:8

 2 Corinthians 9:6

 Cf. Matthew 25:41-46

 1 John 2:4

 1 Corinthians 2:9

 1 John 4:19

The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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The Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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The Miraculous Draught of Fish

The Miraculous Draught of Fish 

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