A HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –CYCLE “B” – 1/25/15 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and Goodness to you this day!
Today we hear the story of how Jesus began gathering together one of the most important groups of men in the history of mankind, the Apostles. And where does Jesus go to find His first Apostles? He goes to the sea, to fishermen. That’s kind of surprising, isn’t it? Of all the different kinds of people, of all the different professions, Jesus starts out by going and looking for fishermen. He didn’t go to lawyers, or farmers, or priests. Notice that Jesus did not go to the carpenter’s union. He did not call a head-hunter service, to aggressively pursue just the right kind of people. He doesn’t place a “Help Wanted” ad in the newspaper. He seems to be very deliberate in wanting fishermen. And then He goes on to say that He wants to make us all “Fishers” of men.
So what’s the deal with fishermen? Well, fishermen know how to work hard. Fishermen go to work early, work hard all day, and finish up late. It is hard work finding the fish, catching the fish, bringing them in to market, selling the fish, and then cleaning up the mess to be ready to start the whole process over the next day. It seems to me that Jesus is looking for people who will work just as hard for His Kingdom. Being an Apostle, like being a fishermen, is more than a full-time job, it is a way of life! A fishermen’s job is never done. They’ve got to get back out there the next day if they want to feed their families and support themselves. Being a leader in the Building of the Kingdom of God is very similar work. You don’t take a break. You don’t go on vacation from being. You have to persevere! And just like the Apostles, we too have to get out there every day if we really want to see Jesus’s Kingdom become a reality.
Fishermen also know that they are going to have good days, and they are going to have bad days, when it comes to catching fish, and that they can’t quit just because they have a couple bad days in row. A professional fishermen, the kind that don’t use a bobber, but use real nets, knows that the really big catches will make up for the days when you catch nothing! How important is it for all of us to know this! We must persevere in good times and most especially in bad times. Remember how Peter must have felt when he had been fishing all night long and hadn’t caught a thing? Don’t we all know what that feeling feels like? A real fishermen, a good fishermen, is not going to let empty nets one night, keep him from fishing the next night! We cannot get discouraged either. Just because we can’t see our results, doesn’t mean that we give up and quit. God is always at work! When the boat is full of fish AND when the boat is empty. Our job is to trust.
And perhaps the main reason why Jesus called the fishermen first, is that fishing really is an act of Faith. There are so many things that a fisherman can’t control: like the weather, like if the fish are biting, like where the fish are located. Every time that a fisherman drops his nets, he is putting his Faith and trust in God. He can’t make any thing happen. He can’t make the fish swim into his nets. All he can do is, in good faith and trust, keep lowering his nets and pulling them up again and again. And isn’t that really the same thing as when it comes to bringing souls to Christ? We can’t make anybody follow Jesus? We can’t change the hearts of other people, even people that we love very much. All we can do is keep fishing, keep throwing those nets in there, hoping that at the right time, and with the right situation, God will let us bring someone to Christ.
When you think about it, Jesus probably knew exactly what He was doing, in calling fishermen to be His first Apostles. Today, we are called to be just like Andrew and Peter, and James and John. We are to work hard. We are to persevere, and hang in there, and keep trying. We are to know that being a Catholic Christian, very much like being a fisherman, demands that we have Faith and Trust in God. This is God’s work, not our own. And we work for Him, not the other way around! Just look at Jonah’s work in our first reading today. Jonah didn’t even get a third of the way through Nineveh, and God did his job for him. Nineveh changed their hearts, not because of Jonah, but because of God. Jonah was just the instrument. You catch ‘em, God will clean ‘em up and do the rest. Let us truly be Fishers of Men!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!