Posted on May 9, 2019

5 May, 2019

Several years ago I went fishing with our music coordinator at Newman–Jeff Weishaar  and a young man from Hatley who was the second person to be ordained–John McHugh John had just finished up his final year of studies in Rome and was waiting to be ordained. Now Jeff is a real sportsman–he hunts and fishes, walks the land in search of new  conquests.  John and I are not. 
For some reason the fish could tell that John and I did not know exactly what we  were doing.  They refused to come near our hooks.  Jeff occasionally got a nibble. After a while John got bored with the fishing and said:  “You know I haven’t practiced much yet how to say mass.   Do you think you could critique me?”
So there in the middle of the lake,  Jeff casting for fish, McHugh standing in the  bow of the boat practicing mass, I yelling out correctives we three  fishermen were. What we paid no attention to was the fact that we gathered a crowd of the curious. Little by little boats nudged their way toward us.We’d forgotten how sound carries on water, And how even short people standing up in a boat, get attention. When we noticed, finally, that we had drawn a crowd, I urged McHugh to preach a  homily, try out what it was really like to be Jesus.
Weishaar at this point with a remarkable memory for this gospel interjected: “If the  two of you were at all like Jesus, you’d fill the boat with fish.   Now put up or shut up.”  We shut up.
For all the charm of this gospel: Jesus appearing in the familiar setting of the disciples. The bottom line is pretty terrifying.
We get a lot of latitude being disciples. We get to fail at our own jobs and maybe even lives. We get to fail at our faithfulness to the Lord. We get to fail even at loving the Lord with constancy, but there comes a time for every one of us when we will have to put up or shut up.
“Peter, I tell you there will come a time when you will have to go where you do not want to go,  do what you do not want to do–all for my sake and the sake of the gospel.”
At some point in our lives our identification as a follower of Jesus will have to mean  something more than the generic, “I’m a good person.” It will mean sacrifice, and it will mean doing the right thing against the odds.
Has your day come yet to put up or shut up, or are you still waiting for it?