My hometown is a fishing community and in fact, the town’s patron saint is Saint Andrew, the brother of Saint Peter, who were both fishermen. Before the pandemic quarantine protocols were put in place, when you go to the beach early in the morning during the summers, most of the crowd that you see are engaged in fishing activities. You can see boats of all sizes moving around to catch fish. This is before the day crowd of beach bummers arrive to have fun. The town is blessed to have good and fertile fishing waters such that even vessels from other places come to share in the fish.
Since fish and other sea creatures are quick, fast and sometimes even dangerous in water, Fr. Armand is right in his homily today when he said, “You don’t chase fish to catch them, you let them come to you.”
In the Gospel (Mk. 1: 14-20),
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.”
Fr. Armand succinctly described how the life of the follower of Christ should evolve, taking the Gospel accounts. At that time of the first apostles, Biblical scholars agree that before they became Jesus’ disciples, they were first His friends,
“…their conversion into the Faith doesn’t stop with being ‘Jesus and me’, but since the Lord is starting His public ministry, and John the Baptist has been imprisoned; it is time for Jesus to go out and preach. The Lord needed companions with Him, so Jesus called His friends, those people who are close to Him: Peter, Andrew, James and John, to become “fishers of men”.
In our own personal conversion when we become close to God, we have to be ready to move up the next level; that is, sharing in His work. “In other words, it’s like Jesus telling us, ‘You just don’t become my friends, now you go and share our friendship, and share the Good News to people around you.’ Don’t just attach yourself to Me, but go (out) there and share your faith.” (Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB)
Citing the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of Pope Benedict XVI, on the Holy Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission, Fr. Armand said,
“A eucharistic Church is (one that celebrates the Eucharist) always a missionary Church. We cannot just end it up by praying to God, and then being “close” to God. The real purpose of our faith, is not to keep it for ourselves, but to share it to other people. To be fishers of men, to bring other people close to God.”
This is the attitude we have to adopt in our lives. For example, in our roles as parents or guardians, rather than telling our children that they become “a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer in the future” because this is a “good” plan for them, our roles should be in the way of supporting God’s plan for their lives. Even in our life experiences, whenever confronted with difficult challenges, our faith should be strong enough to make us realize that the Almighty has a plan for everyone and everything. It is God that directs our present and our future.
Today, reflect on these,
Are you understanding of your family and loved ones?
Are you welcoming and patient in how you respond to the experiences of your family and loved ones?
Are you showing your openness to be of help to others such that they feel welcome and comforted in your presence?
Dear God, help me live my Faith so that others become attracted to my faith experiences and eventually inspire them to seek You. Help my life become a worthy example so that in doing so, it is not just me being sent by You to them, but rather, it will be You sending them to me, so that I will bring them closer to You. Amen.
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk. 1: 15)