I do not like dancing. As a child, I always thought that they unnecessarily prolonged the movies I was watching. When I graduated from the university, I was glad that the companies I worked for did not have employee dance presentations during Christmas parties. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there was dancing in the seminary. It was like grade school all over again where I had to join almost every class activity. In my mind, I entered the seminary to discern about the priesthood, and not to become an entertainer. I would often bring up how St. Jean Marie Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, opposed dancing when he was Curé of Ars.
In the Gospel, Simon Peter followed Jesus’ command to put out into the deep and lower their nets even though they already came up empty the night before. Here was a case of a carpenter teaching an experienced fisherman how to fish, and the carpenter was right! Peter obeyed even though it might not have made sense to him initially why they had to do something again, and everyone was awestruck by the results.
And so, in the seminary, dance presentations became something I could not escape from, especially before the pandemic. I followed, even though it felt awkward. I knew that obedience does not mean I can decide what things I would follow or not. I understood that I had to die to myself and my desires. I knew that it was also an exercise of humility to obey. And yet, knowing does not make doing easier. The Gospel’s invitation for me is to offer up these resistances to God and allow Him to mold me and work through me. Jesus showed us what obedience is truly like when he obeyed the Father even up to death. He did not resist. In following His footsteps, I must also do the same. In formation, as in life, one has to learn to dance. By trusting in the formation, I am also trusting that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion (cf. Philippians 1:6).
By: Sem. Richard Anthony Lim
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.