On 28 September 2014, the Orthodox Church is on the 18th Sunday after the Pentecost. The evangelical pericope of Saint Luke 5:1-11, which presents the wonderful fishing, was read during the Divine Liturgy, according to the good order of our Church.
His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, delivered a sermon in the historical chapel of “Saint Great Martyr George”, in which he spoke about the spiritual teaching conveyed by today’s evangelical pericope: “Saint Luke the Evangelist shows us that there were two boats at the shore of Lake Genessaret, also called the Galilee Sea, and the fishers got out of their boats to wash their nets. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, came close to Simon Peter who owned one of the boats and to James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who owned the other boat.
The boat on the sea represented the Church of Christ in the world. Jesus got into Peter’s boat and asked him to push off a little from the shore so that He could stand in the boat and teach crowds gathered at the shore. His sermon in the boat was a representation of the mystery of the Church present in this world as a boat on the sea, sometimes calm, some other times rough”.
After He had taught the crowds and enlightened them with the word of His Gospel, Jesus Christ, our Saviour, told Peter to push his boat out further to the sea, where the water was deep, to catch fish, His Beatitude said, showing that “Saint Peter the Apostle had no great hope to catch fish, but he did what he was told due to his lowliness. We see that lowliness means obedience without asking for explanations. The Gospel does not tell us that Peter doubted, but neither that he was very trustful, but only that he obeyed: The sign of lowliness is obedience to Christ without asking questions or understanding for the moment what would be going on. Saint Peter obeyed Jesus because he loved Him and recognised Him as his Teacher. As soon as he did what he was told, Peter and those accompanying him caught so much fish that their nets almost broke, as the Gospel says.”
Then, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel emphasised the fact that the grace of God is a priority to human understanding: “The main teaching that we receive from today’s Gospel is that the fishing or gathering of the people in the sea of the life in the world, into the boat of salvation, namely in the church, is done through the grace of God. What Saint Peter the Apostle teaches through the wonderful fishing in the sea is a chapter of theology on the mystery of the Church and of the shepherd in the Church. Thus, in the church work the grace or help of God is more important than the human understanding”.