1 Cor 3:18-23 / Lk 5:1-11
Not so many years ago, a British scholar did an extended study on both British and American schools, asking the question: What makes good schools good and bad schools bad? All sorts of common-sense answers proposed themselves: funding and other kinds of resources, the socio-economic character of the school’s neighborhood, the school buildings themselves, and so on. But in the end none of those factors proved decisive. There was only one factor that all the truly successful school had in common, and that was high expectations at all levels: administrators, teachers, parents, and the students themselves.
That conclusion should cause us to reflect upon the frequency with which we can sabotage ourselves by our low expectations. The apostles almost did that in today’s gospel. They were experienced fishermen, and they’d been fishing unsuccessfully all night. When Jesus the carpenter (!) intervened and urged them to try again, the temptation to engage in a pro forma, low expectation effort, for courtesy’s sake, had to be considerable. But they didn’t succumb to the temptation. They gave it their all because they trusted him, and the catch was remarkable.
In the course of our lives, the Lord puts us in many similar circumstances, where we could easily fall into the low-expectation, pro-forma response, or no response at all. Those moments are faith tests: The Lord has something there for us. Embrace those moments with the expectation of finding that something. You’ll almost always be surprised!