One of my favorite things to do that I don’t get to do much at all anymore is fishing. There is just something about being out at a lake, pond or river and casting my line out and waiting to see what happens. The anticipation of watching my line or bobber and waiting for that right moment to set the hook and reel it in. Then there were those times where nothing happened, no bites at all. That is why it’s called fishing and not catching.
More recently, within the past three years, I’ve heard Jesus calling me to do His will and go out and become a fisher of men just as we hear about in today’s gospel reading.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.
One of the hardest things for me to understand is nominal Catholicism. God gave us his love letter, the Holy Bible, and in the New Testament we hear His Son telling us to “Go after Him” and yet, there are so many who are content with just going to church. Yeah, that’s nice, that’s comfortable but, that does not make you a follower of Christ. Anyone can say they are something they are not. I can stand out in the middle of a street and scream out all day long “I’m a believer. I’m a believer!” but that won’t matter. The only thing that the people will see is a man, yelling, claiming to be something that they don’t see in his actions.
We need to live out our Catholic Faith. We need to do more than just go to Mass on Sunday. Do you realize that the majority of parishioners who volunteer at their parish are the same ones that have been doing it forever? At my parish alone, we have a great number of our volunteers who are older and soon will not be able to help out and the problem is, nobody is showing up to replace them. Oh everyone talks a good talk but there are no actions behind them. Your parishes need help and not just financial either. And to you men especially, this is an opportunity for you to be a leader and show the world that we too can be Church cleaners. That’s right. There are no rules saying that the Church cleaning crew has to be made up entirely of women. Grab a broom and mop and get busy!
Men, especially husbands and fathers, when you are at Mass, don’t just sit there like a bump on a log. Here is a word that goes a long way if it is done….PARTICIPATE! Pick up that song book and sing along. So what if you are no Frank Sinatra, sing! Pray along with the Mass don’t just mumble through it. But most importantly, take it seriously. Take time before Mass to sit there or kneel and pray and meditate on what you are about to partake in. You are about to come face to face with the Lord Our God in the Holy Eucharist. You are about to sit at the table like the Apostles and hear those same words he told them. This, should excite you. That should be all the motivation you need to attend and participate. When you do this, and you take it seriously, not only will God take notice, but your wife, your kids and the world will too.
Now is the time to go out and go fishing for men. This is the time where you put your fears aside and you trust in God the Father that He will use you to do His will, you trust in Jesus to follow His example and you trust the Holy Spirit that He will give you the words to speak. Now is the time to cast out your net and fish…tell the world about Jesus, tell the world about our Awesome faith, and then watch as God does the catching.