We hear the beautiful words in Isaiah that we all know so well “Here I am, send me”
This first reading provides a perfect balance to the gospel. Jesus is being closely pressed by the crowd when he asks a nearby fisherman to take him just off shore to preach without being overwhelmed by the crowd. Seemingly at random, he has selected the boat of the fisherman Peter. Having finished preaching for the day, Jesus tells Peter to set out into deeper water and pay out his fishing nets. Peter is certainly not keen on the idea! Out of some interest or good nature he had agreed to allow this preacher to use his boat for a while, but now this country bumpkin is trying to tell him how to fish! Just to prove Jesus wrong, Peter agrees to go through the futile exercise and is overwhelmed by the enormous catch of fish. Like Isaiah in the first reading, Peter is suddenly acutely aware of his own deficiencies – ‘Leave me Lord; I am a sinful man’. Like Isaiah, he recognises that he has just seen the glory of God revealed and he feels unworthy to be part of the experience. But Jesus reassures him, ‘Do not be afraid,’ and calls Peter to follow.