“going deeper” to follow jesus

for my first full time job after college, i was a sales rep for 3M copiers in southern california. good job, good experience , decent money. not for me. my worth does not depend on where i stand on the sales room leader board. i discovered that i was not put on earth to sell machines.

go deeper

eventually, i was a youth minister at the san gabriel mission parish in LA. exciting, energetic, purposeful. it was there that i am rediscovered a previous passion that i had as part of my high school’s retreat program called search. faith, service, and love are connected. i served my first year in youth ministry at san gabriel in a program called “claretian volunteers.” i lived and prayed in community with three other young adults while we all served in ministry. i grew in leaps and bounds in faith as a full time volunteer. money did not motivate me, service did.

but still, go deeper

through discernment during my second year at san gabriel, i felt that the Lord might be calling me to the priesthood. while the diocesan priesthood, dominicans and augustinians were all good places to be, they were not where i was meant to be. i was drawn to the community and spirituality of the claretian missionaries. i began seminary at the jesuit school of theology in berkeley at the claret house community.

don’t be afraid— go deeper

music ministry, jail and hospital ministries, AIDS ministry were all wonderful experiences in formation. being intellectually challenged in the formal philosophy and theology classes was needed but i am no scholastic: i am educated beyond my own intellectual abilities.

yes, again– go deeper

my vows as a claretian on august 24, 1990 and my ordination to the priesthood 28 years ago yesterday february 5th formalized my life and faith commitments. being a claretian priest is my style of life and there will be many more and different ways to…

go deeper.

in today’s gospel from luke chapter five, jesus invites simon to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” simon needed various conversions in his life in order to become “peter.” his first step was to hear jesus’ words to “go deeper”. this experience was less about an abundant catch of fish and more about trusting jesus’, not to fear going deeper, and follow him. simon peter’s life will be forever changed,

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching people.”

he left his fishing boat behind and simon peter will then spend the rest of his life overcoming fear and following jesus in ways that he could not imagine. simon peter will have his unique call and place in sharing the good news of jesus and the kingdom of God. but it all started when he said yes to jesus’ invitation to…

go deeper, do not fear

in simon peter’s discipleship with jesus, he would live through other fears. these conversions of heart will enable him to become closer to jesus. after knowing the power of resurrection, simon peter’s denials of jesus were transformed into proclamations of love. he became “rock” and show this love through his actions. in the Spirit, he will boldly preach the good news of jesus’ love.

jesus unconditional love and belief in us are miracles. at times, i realize my own frailty and can respond to the Lord– like simon peter– “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” at times, i do not fully trust and there is lingering fears and personal weaknesses that hinder my following of jesus. but these words return and ring in my ears,

go deeper, do not fear, there is something more for you to do

what the future holds, i do not know. i never expected to move back to my childhood home and help my 98 year old mother in her need. in this deep water, i feel like i am barely keeping my head afloat. but in the end, i trust that everything will be fine and my life’s adventurous journey will continue somehow, somewhere.

what do jesus’ words– go deeper— mean to you?

let us pray:

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