Fishers of Men

Luke 5: 1-11
Col 1: 9-14 / Psa 98

Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.
(Luke 5:10)

Thank You, Lord, for making us see
Many are called but few are chosen;
In this sea of humanity,
You made us to be fishers of men.

While standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with people listening to the Word of God, Jesus saw two boats at the water’s edge, left there by fishermen who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him. (Luke 5: 1-11)

Reflection

Peter and his companions knew that this man who could attract thousands of people with His words had extraordinary powers when He boarded their boat so that He could teach the crowds a short distance from the shore. Thus, Peter could not refuse Jesus when He told him to “put out into deep water,” and lower their nets for a catch, even though they had toiled all night and caught nothing. His obedience was rewarded with such an abundant catch that the two boats were filled with fish to near-sinking. Astonished, Peter fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” For acknowledging his unworthiness in genuine humility, Jesus chose him to be the leader of His apostles.

Like the common cold, faith can be catching. And you know you are caught when you begin to be obsessed with catching other souls for Jesus. Before we became “fishers of men” in our Brotherhood, we thought that going to church, regularly receiving the sacraments, and avoiding grievous sins were enough to be considered true followers of Christ. Concerned more with our businesses or professions, whatever extra time we could spare went to social and civic pursuits. We felt no urgency in developing a closer relationship with God. It could always wait until we were nearing the “pre-departure area” of our life’s journey. In effect, we did not place Jesus as the Central Figure in our life. Now that we have put out to deeper waters (65 fathoms?) we have come to realize how insignificant bottom-line profits are compared to points earned above when the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) came to our lives. Like other renewal communities, it led us to a deeper, and more personal relationship with the Lord. We have become less anxious about business and other temporal concerns, and more concerned about how best we can serve the Lord in our community. Here, Jesus seems to be telling us, “Do not be anxious for anything when you are in My business of catching men. Take care of My business, and your business will be taken care of.”

As St. Paul said in his letter to the Colossians (1st reading): May God fill us “with the knowledge of His will through wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit, (that we) may live a life worthy and pleasing to Him… bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that (we) may have great endurance and patience, giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col.1:9-14)

We can only thank You, Lord Jesus, for having invited us to join Your “fishing fleet”. We praise You for this “net” that has a wider, global reach. Amen.

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