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Finding a space to hear Jesus

JESUS BOAT

Travellers & Tinkers | CC BY SA 4.0

Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 09/01/22

A Church that does not foster listening to Jesus is not really the Church.

Today’s readings can be found here.

What is the Church? A boat that Jesus takes so that he can speak to everyone without being crushed. That may not be the best definition ever, but it seems the perfect description based on today’s Gospel passage:

“While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.”

It’s beautiful to think that the Church is born not as an experience of the crowd, but as a space in which Jesus is enabled to speak. In this sense, a Church that does not foster listening to Jesus, that does not cultivate that proper distance in which He can move, does not make a relationship with Him possible, and therefore is not really the Church.

We should abandon the idea of the Church as the people, the multitudes, and recover a concept of the Church as a sober and defining space in which Jesus can say meaningful things to every man and woman.

We must add, however, that this boat is Peter’s. This does not mean that he is its master, but the one who more than anyone else makes this space available.

So if we were to have to say who Peter is, then we’d say that he’s a man who, in the face of what he doesn’t understand, doesn’t close himself off but opens himself to a higher vision of things:

“‘Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.’ Simon said in reply, ‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.’”

The faith/trust of this man is the foundation of this miracle which leads to the experience of abundance. Indeed, what is faith? Experiencing the fullness of life.

“When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.”

~

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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