Jesus Teaches From Peter's Boat, The Catholic Church

Father McQuaide's homily

"Every phrase and word of scripture is packed with meaning. In the Gospel for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, Saint Luke (5:1-11) includes a small detail. Our Lord, with a crowd pressing in on him, decides to get into a boat from which to teach them. But, it is not just any boat. Saint Luke tells us that it was Simon Peter's boat. They put out a short distance, and Jesus begins to teach the crowd. What does that small detail tell us? That it is from the barque of Peter that true teaching comes

What was true nearly 2000 years ago is true today; from the barque of Peter, the Catholic Church, led by Saint Peter's successor, the Pope, we have ready access to Christ and his teaching.
Our language surrounding church architecture picks up on this notion of the church as the boat of Peter. The area in the church where the people pray is called the nave. This comes from the Latin word for boat, navis. In many churches, if you were to turn it upside-down, the roof could easily serve as the hull of a boat. So, we give thanks that we find ourselves in the safety of Peter's boat, as members of the body of Christ, in the Catholic Church. 

But, how did we find ourselves here? Where do we find ourselves in this Gospel passage? This morning we drove to the building and entered through the doors, but we enter the church through the Sacrament of Baptism. We are the fish that Peter and the other apostles are catching and bringing onto the boat. We are born into the turbulent waters of this world to be saved and brought into the safety of the barque of Peter.

Our Lord told Peter to set out into the deep waters for this great catch, he would echo these words when he, before his Ascension, told his apostles to go out to the whole world, teaching others to observe all that he had commanded them and to baptize. The Apostles and their successors and coworkers continue to do what Jesus did. They teach what he taught and, through Baptism, they bring many into the barque of Peter, that safe haven in a world of strife.

We pray for our bishops and priests that they might always stay close to the Lord. Remember that Peter, on his own, was unable to catch any fish. It was only when Christ climbed into his boat that he was able to catch anything. So, too, for our bishops and priests, it will only be in staying close to the Lord, in them inviting him ever more into their lives that they will be able to be good fishers of men and coworkers on the barque of Peter.

We also pray for many more young men to hear and answer the call to a priestly vocation. Peter couldn’t bring in the catch on his own; he had to call others to help him. So, too, do the bishops and priests of today have need of many more coworkers in the great work of teaching and baptizing. We pray that those, even in this nave, whom the Lord is calling might respond generously to his invitation."

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