Fifth Sunday of the Year
Called to be Fishers of Men
Today’s readings remind us that we are all part of the plan that God has for the world. All of us have a role to play in the transformation of the world into the Kingdom of God. As Christians we believe profoundly in the conquest of Jesus Christ. We believe that he is winning the battle against evil, and we believe that we have been called as individuals to be part of the fight.
The readings speak abut this. Isaiah responds to the question of the Lord, “Whom shall I send?” with “Hear I am, Lord, send me.” Paul tells the Corinthians that God chose him to preach the Gospel even though he had previously persecuted the Church. And Jesus calls Simon Peter and James and John to be part of the plan and fish for men.
And Jesus asks each of us to take a step away from the absolute boredom of life for self and take a step into His Life.
Much of our world follows the world view of the ancient Greeks. These people thought that everything was a huge cycle. Life would never get better. They were fatalists. They believed that they had no control over the terrible things that might happen in the world. Not only did they not try to be part of the solution, they thought that they were incapable of changing anything. They were people without hope. We also come upon people in school, at work, in the neighborhood, or wherever, who have given up on anything more to life than immediate self gratification. “Why bother to be good, or kind, or caring? What’s it going to get you?” they would argue. “Why bother with God?” they would question.
Jesus calls you and me to fish for these people. Some of them might be sitting in the pew next to you suffering silently due to situations beyond their control. He calls us to let people know that there is hope, infinite hope, and that Hope’s name is Jesus Christ. He calls you and me to proclaim the Good News, the Gospel: Life is Beautiful! Life is Eternal! Life is Jesus Christ! We live for Him and we witness His using us to make His Love Real in the world. And if only one person in our entire lives recognizes the Hope of the Lord due to something that you or I do, due to the way that you or I live, our lives would a success. One is not enough for us, though. The more we give ourselves to Him, the more His Presence is multiplied for others, exponentially for you math whizzes.
But who am I to proclaim Jesus Christ? How dare I say to that person who is talking about having sex outside of marriage, “Don’t do it. You are better than that.” Who am I to say to that person who is experimenting with drugs, “Don’t go that party, you know what is going to happen.” I’m not that good! Who do I think that I am? That I can serve God.
Similar thoughts came to Isaiah in the first reading, “I am a man of unclean lips,” and to Paul in the second reading, “I persecuted Jesus Christ” and to Peter in the Gospel, “Leave me Lord, I am a sinful man.” Remember what happened. An angel cleaned Isaiah’s lips. Paul was on his way to Damascus to round up and kill a bunch of Christians when Jesus appeared to Him and called him to change his life. And Peter heard the Lord tell him, “Do not be afraid of me, from now on you will be a catchers of men.”
We do not have the right to limit God’s plans with any negative thoughts we might have of ourselves. We are good enough to promote the Kingdom of God because He makes us good enough. Our past sins are not important here. What is important is God’s grace. What is important is God’s burning desire unite the world to Himself.
We have been called to stop the cycle of fatalism. We have been called to bring Hope to the world. We need to trust in the capacity God has given us to bring Hope to the world. We need to trust in Jesus Christ, be our best selves, and proclaim the Gospel. We only have one life we can live. We have been called by Jesus Christ to make this one life the best life possible, His Life. We have been called, all of us, to be fishers for Christ.