Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Nancy Wellmeier, SNDdeN

Feb 2, 2022 | Gospel Reflections

February 6, 2022

Luke 5: 1-11

An unruly crowd, two boats tied up at the lake shore, nets and fish; these are the ordinary, everyday elements of the gospel for this fifth Sunday in ordinary time. The people come to hear the Word of God and the Word of God in person is graciously sharing the Good News with them. Although the first and second readings in today’s Mass are clearly about hearing God’s call, they both speak of extraordinary circumstances—for Isaiah, a disturbing vision, and for Paul, an unexpected voice from heaven. Luke, in contrast, paints a scene that is so ordinary we can almost see and feel it. On this sunny morning, Jesus perceives that He can deliver His message better if he is not being pushed to the edge of the water, and he sees someone he already knows standing near his fishing boat—Simon, whose home he had visited just recently (Lk 4:38-39). So, with the help of this new friend and his crew, Jesus was able to address the crowd from his seat in Simon Peter’s boat. Perhaps as a gesture of gratitude, Jesus arranges for an amazing catch of fish, even as Simon protests that he has just returned from a hard and fruitless night of work. He only relents and agrees to go out on the lake again because, it seems, he has already been ‘caught’ by Jesus’ preaching and healing on the Sabbath in the synagogue of Capernaum and the healing of his mother-in-law. His words of trust are a sign of his readiness to do God’s will: “If you say so.” The partners, James and John, are also ‘caught’ and when they are invited to “catch men”, they tie up the boats and leave with Jesus, abandoning boats, nets and all those valuable fish!

Reflection: How often do I see God’s call in everyday events? Am I ready to respond, as Isaiah did in the first reading: “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” Or as did Paul: “God’s favor to me has not proved fruitless.”
The take-away from this gospel? Listen for God’s call in the ordinary, everyday events of life. Trust in the Good News that Jesus preaches and respond to God’s call with “If you say so.”



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 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.

The Gospel of the Lord.


Meet Sister Nancy Wellmeier, SNDdeN

Sister Nancy Wellmeier met the Sisters of Notre Dame when she was a student at Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio, USA. Her first years in ministry were dedicated to teaching Spanish; this was followed by 25 years in youth and parish ministry in Mexico and Arizona. After completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology, she was appointed by the US Bishops’ Conference Department of Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees to coordinate the Church’s outreach to the Mayan refugees from Guatemala in the US. Elected as a General Counselor for the Sisters of Notre Dame in 2002, she enjoyed six years of meeting and working with the Sisters in all the countries where SNDs minister. Sister Nancy has compiled a valuable history of the SND mission –1859 to 1875—in Guatemala, Central America. She now volunteers at a refugee welcome center and teaches English and citizenship.