To Be Fishers of Men

Matthew 4:18-22
Rom 10:9-18 / Psa 19

Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
(Matthew 4:19)

Thank You, Lord Jesus for calling me
To a greater task I knew not then;
In this ocean of humanity,
You called us to be fishers of men.

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-22)

Reflection

As described in the text of Matthew’s Gospel, Simon, Andrew, James and John were mere fishermen, laboring under the hot sun, barely able to sustain a living from the Sea of Galilee. Why they willingly left their means of livelihood to follow Jesus we can only surmise was a more promising venture for them, since the reputation of Jesus as a miracle worker had probably already preceded Him. But from the very start they could not have had any idea what was in store for them, only that this charismatic leader had something better to offer – for them to become “fishers of men.”

Why did our Lord pick these unlettered rough men of the sea to be His core group, rather than the scholars or religious leaders who were more influential and better informed about the laws and scriptures? It was precisely because these simple folk were still innocent— they were more receptive to His brand of teaching, pliant like clay in a potter’s hands. This was the Father’s plan, as Jesus said in another instance, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what You were pleased to do.” (Lk.10:21)

It was for this important reason that Jesus picked fishermen to be His first apostles: to deliver the message of evangelization for all generations of Christians, that we are all called to become fishers of men. If we must be “Christ-like”, then it must be our life’s mission to bring His gospel values and ideals to other men and women, and to bring them to a closer relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus called four fishermen to catch the people of all nations on earth. Like Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament, they were called for God’s mission, and they left their livelihood for a higher calling. This calling St. Paul echoed in our first reading: “How can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News!” (Rom. 10:14b-15)

Jesus’ call today may not necessarily mean leaving our present livelihood or career. But it also involves a significant transformation, a major paradigm shift, if you may. It means leaving the old ways that we have been accustomed to, and facing the uncharted course of ridicule and great sacrifice. It means taking on a much bigger responsibility of bringing souls to Jesus, without regard for cost or circumstance, for the glory of God’s kingdom, to which we all aspire.

We praise and thank You, Father, for making us realize that we are called to become fishers of men if we are to be worthy to enter Your kingdom. Your call has given meaning and purpose to our lives. Empower us with Your Gospel to be able to respond positively to the challenge of bringing others to Christ. Amen.

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