Theological Imaginings: Incarnate God in the Cosmos and in Person of Jesus
Elizabeth Dowling rsm (ISMAPNG): 'Putting Out Into the Deep'

In Luke 5:4, Jesus tells Simon to ‘put out into the deep’. For me, this phrase/image quivers with significance. There is a sense in which that is what we are doing as we embark on the Mercy Global Presence process. We are going deeper into mystery where we may not see everything clearly but it is where we will find life and energy. The Greek word bathos is translated in Luke 5:4 as the ‘deep’, and cognates of bathos also appear in Luke 6:48; and 24:1. In this paper, I intend to explore the idea of going into ‘the deep’ and link this with an understanding of ‘deep incarnation’.

(NRSV Luke 5:1-6) Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.

Fishing boats would have been a common sight on the Sea of Galilee (Lake of Gennesaret) in Jesus’ time, since fishing was a major industry for the towns along the shore of the lake. In this story, Jesus first sits on Simon’s boat and teaches the crowd and then invites Simon to put out into ‘the deep’ (5:4). Having caught nothing all night, Simon finds that he has a different experience ‘in the deep’, catching so many fish that the nets could barely hold them.

Into the Deep © M. Southard C.S.J., Used under licence

In deep waters, we can literally feel out of our depth. We may not be able to touch the bottom, or even see the bottom. Mary Southard’s painting, Into the Deep, portrays the light and energy, amid the darkness, in the deep. The bubbles are also a sign of life...

Download the complete article (A4) Download the complete article (US Letter) Descargar el artículo completo (Tamaño de papel A4) Descargar el artículo completo (Tamaño carta, EE. UU.

Spanish translation using DeepL Translator. Traducción al español con DeepL Translator

Elizabeth Dowling rsm is a member of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea (ISMAPNG) and a biblical scholar.

'When we read the biblical text through a lens focused by our engagement with MIRP, Laudato Si', and an expanding knowledge of the cosmos, we can see with new eyes.
Let us take up the invitation in Luke 5:4 to "put out into the deep" as we explore our Mercy Global Presence.'

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