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Commentary from 




Rivingtons, London, 1884

The ancient Leonine Collect for this day seems to have been suggested, says Bright, like several of the same age, by the disasters of the dying Western Empire.  It has, however, a plain connection with the Gospel, which was probably selected at an earlier date.  Like others of our Lord's miracles, this one was a parable as well, in which He was teaching the Apostles principles respecting their future work.  The sea is the world, the net is the Church, the Apostles are fishers of men, Christ is He Who in the spiritual as in the actual world bids them let down the net, and also gathers into it the great multitude of fishes.  Very significant is it, then, that with this parabolic miracle in the Gospel, the Collect should pray Him Whose Presence was the wealth and the safety of the fishermen that He will so order the waves of this troublesome world that the Ark of the Church may ever ride over them in peace, and serve Him by gathering in souls into her nets with all godly quietness through the blessing of the Saviour's Presence.  The Epistle is in close agreement with this tone, - "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers...Who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good?"  Like those of the preceding Sundays, it reflects a time of persecution, such as was passing over the Church when St. Peter wrote: but it also breathes the strong faith of him who had said, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water," and whose experience had taught him that if Jesus be in the ship, no waves or storms can prevail to overwhelm it.