When Jesus started his public life he went around proclaiming the gospel of God. During his travels he met people from all walks of life. They were helpless and with different needs. In his great compassion he addressed their needs. He cured their sickness, restored sight to the blind, let the lame walk, raised the dead and did many wonders. One day as he walked along the Sea of Galilee he saw two fishermen casting their nets for a catch. Walking along a little farther he saw another two mending their nets. They were simple people whose source of income is mere fishing. More than that perhaps they won’t explore to find other possibilities. They were not educated and yet Jesus chose them as his companions and collaborators in his mission. Thus he called his first disciples. “Come after me, I will make you fishers of men” (Mk. 1:17). In their simplicity the words of Jesus attracted them and without hesitation, “they left their nets and followed him” (Mk 1:18). There was no doubt and without a second thought they accepted Jesus’ invitation and stayed with him.
The call of the first disciples has become an emblem of the task that awaits the church as it navigates the waters of history in the new millennium. St. John Paul ll borrows from Jesus’ command in Luke, “Put out into the deep water,” to remind us that we too are fishers of men. We have to “catch” people and bring them to Jesus and the community of God’s own people. Called to a “New Evangelisation” to transmit the Christian faith, we are also called to “go into the deep” to deepen our relationship with the Lord and our brothers and sisters, and even to cross the oceans to help spread the faith. A fisherman’s life demands hard work and strength of character; it requires courage, firmness, and patience. It comes as no surprise, then that for the work he means to accomplish Jesus should call strong, brave, and highly spirited fishermen of the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James and John to a different kind of mission: from being fishermen to becoming “fishers of men.” They will find joy in preaching the Gospel and bringing men and women to the Kingdom of God. Their joy will be full when they will lay down their lives as fishers of men that Jesus has called them to become. (365 days with the Lord 2021, Jan 11 and Jan 24)
Jesus continues to call young people for a specific mission. We all have a personal call to serve in a very special way. This call entails a life of total surrender to the divine plan and God’s design. It is a grace and a gift to receive such a call. Our response must be from the heart so that this call must grow in joyful surrender to give up one’s freedom to embrace a selfless service so as to gain everything.
Sr Yolanda Nava, FDZ
Image credit: Photo by Philippe Bourhis on Unsplash