Being made a fisher

Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not like seafood.  I can tolerate some seafood … FRIED shrimp, FRIED oysters …. but, liking fish … no way.  So, the chance of me wanting to go fishing, “0” — I think that the last time I really went fishing was on my grandfather’s farm …. some 50 years ago.  So, for me, the image of being “made fishers of men” would require emphasis on BEING MADE.

As Jesus was dealing with men who were rather poor, uneducated, rough around the edges, independent — he talked about MAKING YOU fishers of men/persons.

Just a couple of weeks away from celebrating the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, we hear scripture that speaks about turning from an old way [repentance], following Jesus, and being made fishers of me — i.e. beginning or re-beginning our work of building up the Church — the BODY OF CHRIST.

As more and more people identify themselves as “spiritual”, but belonging to no particular church/denomination, we ask ourselves, what are we doing to build up the kingdom … for some people, this will mean, building up their parish or their church denomination.  For others, this will mean —- spreading good, doing good, influencing others for good.

Here I do not speak from any knowledge from personal experience …. literally I am talking about “what I have read” or  “what I have heard.”

To fish well — we need —

[1] The Right equipment — cane pole? fancy rod and reel?  what kind of bait?  Some people would say, that if we are to be “fishers of people”, then we have the right equipment because WE HAVE THE TRUTH!  Well, not so fast.  Even if we do have THE truth, it appears that THE truth is not so appealing to most people today — SEEMS that people are looking for compassion, forgiveness, welcome, warmth, honesty, and transparency.

Wow!  But, I have come to teach others to listen to me!  NOT the world of today; not real life.  If we are going to engage others, if we are GOING TO FISH WELL, then we need to learn the techniques of today.

[2] The right place ask me where to fish, I cannot tell you, because I have no clue, no knowledge.  But, ask a successful fishermen, then you have a good lead.  Too often, we “preach to the choir”, we try to “convert the saved.”  The Church has spent too much time mining for gold in the “old mines” — we are going to have to go out into the marketplace and meet people where they are — show concern for them in their needs.

At a recent meeting of our public school board dealing with closure of inner city schools — no Catholic clergy were present.  Think the people noticed?  Yeah!!  I was there, but I no longer pastor a local community — and I was there representing the Charter School movement — as a CHURCH, we are not waving the flag, “throwing the net”, fishing — where the fish are!

[3] Patience — those who fish know well — there are days when the fish seem to jump at the hook — other days, nothing is happening …. you wait and wait and wait — hoping for a bite.  We sow the seed — someone else waters — and maybe someone else will harvest.

As I mentioned last week, our family was waiting for a new child this week … Douglas George Gil was born on Wednesday — the biggest help I could be was to care for the older brother, Kenneth HENRY Gil — a 8-year-old.  Homework, bath, fixing breakfast, packing a lunch, getting to the bus at 6:45, more homework, dinner, laying out clothes, turning off the television —– when schools were cancelled on Friday because of a possible ice/snow storm, I wondered, “what am I going to do with a 8-year-old all day?”

Are we patient enough for God to do the work?  Is my time-line God’s time line?  Am I patient enough to be a TRUE FISHER OF People?  Am I able to begin the work and let someone else get the credit?  Can I be quiet long enough to hear what others are saying?  Am I so intent on telling others what I know — that I never hear what they are really saying?

Go fishing?  Probably not!!!!!  Being a fisher for Jesus?  Yes, indeed!

Please, Lord …. MAKE ME a fisher for you …. take me as I am — mold me, “fix” me — refresh me, renew me … so that I can be an instrument for good in 2014.


About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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