Do Not Be Tired or Lose Hope Because God is Always With You
Deacon Patrick Constantino | Photos courtesy Dcn. Patrick Constantino
Time to not get tired or lose Hope but keep the Faith and share the Love! My reflection is from Luke 5:1-11.
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 boats 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.
A study came out last year that was disturbing but not necessarily surprising. The World Health Organization did a study of people around the world who worked 55 or more hours per week compared to those who worked 35 to 40 hours per week. The study covered health and workplace data from the 1970s to 2018 and included workers in 154 countries. They concluded “People working 55 or more each week, face an estimated 35 percent higher risk of a stroke and a 17 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to people following the widely accepted standard of working 35 to 40 hours in a week.” They also estimated more than 745,000 people worldwide died in 2016 from the physical stress of working excess hours. Those are some scary numbers. Sounds like to me a good excuse for goofing off a little bit from time to time.
Of course, this study was completed before the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies cut their workforce and the remaining employees worked longer hours to compensate. Also, many people began working from home, which made it harder to leave work at work. The result: working unpaid overtime.
We all know the United States is the nation of “rise and grind.” Hard work is in our DNA. But so is being tired. We complain about how busy and tired we are. We compare our busy schedules and shrug our shoulders. “Oh well, that’s just how life is. What can we do about it?”
A seasoned doctor was training his latest group of interns on diagnostic techniques. He wrapped up his training by saying “Never ask your patients if they feel tired.” “Why?” someone asked. “Because,” the doctor replied, “everybody feels tired.”
And he may be right about that. Everybody feels tired. That’s normal, right? It’s a hazard of modern life.
I’m not against hard work. I thank God for the opportunity to work and to use the skills and energy He gave me to make a difference in the world. I’m sure you feel the same way. But most of us also understand that sometimes our work can be unfulfilling. When we gave our best efforts to something and we don’t see any results, we lose heart. That tired feeling isn’t just bone deep. It’s spirit deep. And it steals away our joy, our peace, our hopes. That’s not what God intended for our lives. Our God is a creative God and God made us for peace, hope and joy. So that spirit deep tiredness poisons the life that God intended for us to have.
That’s why we can relate to Simon Peter and the other disciples in our Bible passage for today. Crowds of people have come to the shore of the Lake of Gennesaret to hear Jesus preach. On the edge of the lake are the fishing boats that have come in after a long night’s work. Professional fishermen in Jesus’ day lowered large nets into the lake. In the dark of night, the fish couldn’t see the nets, so schools of fish were easier to catch at night.
Unfortunately, Simon Peter and his colleagues had an unsuccessful night. Jesus climbed into Simon’s boat and asked him to float out a short distance from shore. After Jesus finished teaching the people on the shore, he told Simon Peter to sail into deeper waters and let down his nets again.
Put yourself in Simon Peter’s shoes. He’s just finished working all night with no results. In addition to being tired and ready to go home, he’s probably frustrated his hard work didn’t pay off. He was tired and ready to quit. And now Jesus is telling him how to do his job. Simon answers “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
And in this story, Jesus gives us a gift. He shows us how to heal a tired spirit. For example, one thing we learn from this story is doing meaningful work can heal a tired spirit. A great way to stay energized and effective in our life is to seek to do something we truly believe.
Another way to heal a tired spirit is to catch God’s vision for our life. You’ve heard me say several times before, God has a plan for our life. In no way is our life meaningless. We are here for a reason. To invigorate our life, pray God will show us that reason. That’s what I mean when I say we need to catch God’s vision for our life!
When Jesus told Simon to row to deep waters and cast his nets again, Simon said “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” That’s a microscopic response. “But because you say so, I will let down my nets.” That’s the moment Simon opens himself up to Jesus’ leading. And Simon and his colleagues catch so many fish they load them onto two boats.
Simon is so ashamed of his doubts he falls at Jesus’ knees and says, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.”
But Jesus didn’t do this to shame Simon. He did it to share with Simon a new vision for his life.
Jesus says to Simon, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will fish for people.”
Jesus is talking to us as well as Simon Peter. Don’t be afraid, he says to us, from now on you will fish for people. Whatever work you are doing, whatever hobbies you have, wherever you find yourself, our primary purpose now is to bring people to God. Your primary purpose in your home, in your workplace, in your school, in your hobbies, in your passions, in your relationships is to share the love and truth of Jesus Christ with others. That’s the new vision God has for our life!
It’s like something interesting I recently read about our country’s space program. It seems when NASA engineers sent the Perseverance rover on a historic mission to Mars in 2020, they hid a coded message in the rover’s parachute. The parachute had an unusual red and white pattern. Alan Chen announced this strange pattern held a secret message. Then he challenged folks to find and decode the message. It only took six hours for internet sleuths all over the country to find and decode the message on the rover’s parachute. The message was “dare mighty things!”
Dare mighty things! That’s what Jesus is saying to Simon. You’re looking at your life through a microscopic lens. You only see if you’ve caught fish to feed your family and turn a profit. Catch your vision for your life. I want to work through you to share the presence and power of God. I want to change lives. And that is exactly what those weary fishermen did. They changed lives and changed the world. So the second thing we learn from today’s Bible passage is catching God’s vision for your life can heal a tired spirit.
And finally, we learn from this passage that more than anything else, committing our life to Jesus can heal a tired spirit. How does our Gospel passage end today? After Jesus offered Simon and his friends a new vision for their lives, we read “So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him.” They didn’t go home and catch up on that missed sleep. They didn’t even go out and sell that big catch of fish. They just left everything to follow Jesus.
Is it possible our tired spirit is a result of not committing our whole life to Jesus’ Lordship? Our successes, our failures, our strengths, our weaknesses, our doubts, our insecurities, our future, our identities—are we still wrestling over committing everything to Jesus’ plan and purposes? Because when we commit our entire life to Jesus Christ, we are also trusting Jesus with the results of our life! He is offering to work through us to change lives with His power and His message and His love. We don’t have to do the work alone. That is a sure antidote for a tired spirit.
When you become tired, discouraged or filled with doubt about whether our efforts are making any difference, please remember this: Jesus’ disciples faced harassment, rejection, imprisonment, beatings and death for their work. But they also convinced thousands of people Jesus is Lord and Savior for all humankind. Amen! They planted churches all over the Roman Empire, Africa and Arabia. Today, over one billion people from every race and nation call themselves Christians and there are Christian churches in every corner of the world! And you and I are here today because of the works of Simon Peter, Paul and the other apostles who committed their works and their lives to the message and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Now it’s our turn. Commit our life to Jesus and see how He can give us a new sense of vitality and use us to make a difference in this world.
I pray what I share with you today will help you answer the question—How can I as a member of St. Joseph Church be more effective in proclaiming the living Jesus Christ to the world? You are proclaiming Him by being here at mass!
As I wrote my reflection today, I got a call from Erlinda Pulido, wife of Deacon Cornelio Pulido who suffered a massive stroke after arriving in Seattle to spend Christmas and New Years with his family. With all the prayers from everyone, Linda never tired or lost hope for a miracle. And then it happened. Deacon Cornelio talked to Linda via live stream from the hospital, set up by the hospital. A miracle during this time of crisis! It started with that massive stroke upon arriving in Seattle, before Christmas, weeks later the family had to decide whether to take him off life support. Then the recovery happened, moving his limbs, blinking his eyes to answer them, taking off the oxygen during the day and putting it back on at night, pandemic restrictions, family cannot visit as often. And today, the miracle! The good news is he talked to Linda! Amen, Lord! Thank you for this miracle! Please continue to pray for Deacon Cornelio Pulido, his wife Linda and their family.
Jesus, I trust in You! Amen!
On June 18, 1987, Patrick Constantino was ordained as the first Deacon of Filipino ancestry for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i. For twenty-two years, he served as Administrator at Holy Rosary Church in P‘ia, St. Rita Church in Ha‘ikū and St. Gabriel Church in Ke‘anae. Constantino is presently assigned to St. Joseph Church in Makawao.
Prior to his ordination, Constantino was in government—first appointed in 1966 as Assistant Sergeant of Arms by the Speaker of the House Elmer F. Cravalho. When Cravalho became Maui’s first Mayor, Constantino became his Executive Assistant—the first of Filipino ancestry. Later, Constantino became the first County Treasurer of Filipino ancestry and the first County Grants Administrator and Risk Manager of Filipino ancestry.
Constantino has served as a Deacon for 34 years and married to his lovely wife Corazon for 60 years.