Fisher of Men

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6 April 2018

You would think that they had proven themselves unworthy and incapable of being Jesus’ disciples. The disciples couldn’t even recognise holy when He called out to them. No one would ever pick this motley crew as the fearless leaders of a new, worldwide and dynamic faith.

They couldn’t even fish properly. Not only was fishing the main occupation of a number of the disciples but, throughout the gospels, fishing is used as a symbol of the evangelizing mission that Jesus gives to his disciples. As Jesus says in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

Today’s reading begins by showing us what we would expect: by their efforts and power they haven’t been able to bring in a catch. However, standing on the shore is Jesus. He gives a simple direction and the disciples’ fortune, and fishing ability, changes.

This is the testimony of the New Testament. Jesus speaks to ordinary, sinful people and their lives change. Peter was faithless, Thomas was a skeptic, Paul was a murderer, Matthew was a tax collector, Mary Magdalene was oppressed by demons, Martha was a worrier, Lazarus was dead! Yet, in all of these cases, it’s the abundant provision and love of Jesus that turns them into witnesses for the gospel.

As the Catechism says,
“The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace.” (CCC 2008).

It is the power of Christ that comes generously through his abundant love that makes us capable of bringing in a massive catch. If Jesus can use his disciples, he can surely use you and me.

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