Thursday, September 4, 2014

“Modern intelligence won't accept anything on authority. But it will accept anything without authority.”

“Nothing limits intelligence more than ignorance; nothing fosters ignorance more than one's own opinions; nothing strengthens opinions more than refusing to look at reality.”

Gospel Text: (LK 5:1-11)
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.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“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.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them.
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

I am educated. I am relatively smart. I have two Masters Degrees. I’m a Vice President in the largest bank in the United States of America. And people like me tend to rely pretty heavily on our intelligence. We think we’re so smart. But what do we really know? I saw a t-shirt the other day that said, “I’m a college professor: to save time, let’s just assume I’m right” I know a lot of stuff.

But what do we know, really?

Seriously, I don’t know anything. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t know what all this means. I can’t see the big picture, because I’m human. I’m not God. And that’s the point. We humans are naturally restricted. We don’t know how everything happens. We don’t know how the earth got here. We don’t know what happens when we die. We are human. We live, then we die. We couldn’t do this. We couldn’t make a world or make people from scratch or understand how it happened or where it’s going. We have to have faith. And we have to accept that we don’t know everything. We call ourselves wise and think we know so much, and we think we have all the answers, but in fact, we know very little, and we do not have all the answers. Even those who know a lot, in the bigger scheme of things know very little. We think we have everything, but everything we have and our very selves belong to God. Nothing is really ours, not our possessions, not our environment, not our experiences. It is all from God, and it is all God’s.

St Peter in today’s gospel reading above thinks he knows about fishing, but what does he know? He knows enough to put his faith and trust in Jesus and to follow him. Jesus says he will be a fisher of men now, able to share his faith and his experience.

We don’t know it all, but we should know enough to put our faith and trust in the Lord and follow him. We can’t know it all. But we can accept this and trust in God.

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