In today’s Gospel, Jesus encounters Simon Peter & his fishing companions as they're washing their nets. He tells Peter: “Put out into the deep water – let down your nets for a catch.” Yet, Peter explains that he and his companions, all experienced fishermen, had worked all night long and had caught absolutely nothing. We wonder: Does Jesus know something that they don’t know? But they trust him, and at Jesus' command, they lower their nets. What comes up, but an abundance of fish - enough to tear their nets to shreds & to sink their boats. Here they are in the same place where they'd labored day after day, in an environment they knew so well, in the place where they'd come up empty the night before, and they have a catch beyond all imagining.
Today, our Bishop presents to us the Catholic Service Appeal for our diocese for 2013. It has been moved to February this year before Lent because it was felt that there too much going on in our lives at the end of May when it was usually held, with confirmations and graduations and the end of the school year.
We can imagine the trust and the faith that the disciples needed in today’s Gospel to cast their nets into the deep. Our theme this year for the Catholic Service Appeal is: “Open the Door of Faith.” Going through the Door of Faith entails this same sense of courage and trust that the disciples had. Pope Benedict XVI, in declaring a year of faith for us, uses the image of the open door, explaining that the “door of faith” is always open for us, as it ushers us into the life of communion with God and offers entry into His Church.
Our Catholic Service Appeal in our diocese helps us fund areas that keeps the door of faith open for us. Funding seminarian education, mission parishes, Catholic schools, and programs of Catholic Charities are just some of the ways the Catholic Service Appeal helps us open the doors of our faith. We will now listen to a short recorded message from Bishop Joseph Latino about this year’s Catholic Service Appeal.