Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 22, 2023
Isaiah 8:23-9:3 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17 Matthew 4:12-23
What picture comes to your mind when you think of fishing? In my mind, there's a picture of an individual standing on the bank of a river and holding a fishing rod with a line that has been cast into the water hoping to hook a fish. In your mind you may see a similar rod and reel being held by an angler in a boat.
The reason I ask is that I discovered something interesting in preparing to write this reflection. Father George Smiga points out in his wonderful online Scripture reflections (Building on the Word), that Peter and Andrew, James and John were fishing in a very different way. These fisherman cast nets into the water and gathered fish in those nets. That is certainly the picture today's gospel paints. And it strikes me that this is a process that is less about hooking and more about gathering.
Jesus invites these fishermen to join him and promises to make them "fishers of men. “ And how is he fishing? He is proclaiming the good news, the gospel of the kingdom and he is “curing every disease and illness”. People are drawn to him, not hooked by fake and flashy “bait.” They are gathered and shown a new way of living.
We, too, are called to be fisherfolk. And our fishing style is the same. We preach and live the good news, that God loves each and every one of us unconditionally. And we engage in the process of curing human illness: poverty, injustice, consumerism, violence… everything that warps and limits life on earth, our common home. And others find that attractive.
This is our call, as surely as it was the call of those first disciples. As this new year begins may we recommit ourselves to this way of life.
by: Pat Schnee