Friday, January 25, 2008

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

January 27, 2008
CUA Campus Ministry Liturgy - 4:00 PM Mass Crypt Church

When John the Baptist was arrested his movement or ministry faded away.
That’s no surprise
After Jesus’ Baptism
John had done everything in his power to direct people to Him
“I must decrease he must increase”

Jesus moves from the Jordan River to the Sea of Galilee which was located on major trade routes and had lots of commerce.

By doing so it would be much easier for Him to spread His message.
People traveling along these trade routes would routinely stop along the journey and spend the night
many were happy to listen to the Rabbis as they spent their evenings in the towns by the sea.

If they were moved by what they heard they would gladly recount it to the people of their own towns or regions.

The scholars tell us that Jesus was probably preaching regularly along the Sea of Galilee and that it might have been possible that James John Simon and Andrew might have heard him previously.

When you read the account it seems like some stranger walked up to them and said come follow me and they did… Maybe maybe not.

And it is really not important if they had heard Jesus or not

What is important is that they followed him.
What do we know about this event and the men Jesus called ?

Obviously it shows us that Jesus made the first move.
This was rather odd because the Rabbis of his time usually waited for disciples to come and find them.
Our God does not just sit by and wait for us to find Him
He actively seeks us out,
hunts us down as you will.
Always respecting our free will God continually knocks

We know that Jesus didn’t pick the holiest people
He did not choose from the priestly class or the religious leaders of his time

Jesus did not pick the smartest people
They were not scholars of the law.

He picked normal people for an extraordinary task

They were fishermen
They were used to a hard days’ work
They had unique skills for the tasks of discipleship
William Barclay reflected on the traits of fishermen
and I was amazed at how they fits with discipleship.

A fisherman is Patience – he is used to waiting, he knows that if he moves too quickly and pulls on the line he may lose the fish, so he waits

A fisherman preservers he doesn’t give up,
he keeps trying if not here then there.
If he gave up he would never eat or enjoy the fruit of his labor.

A fisherman is Courageous… the boat is always small and the sea is so large.
You have to be courageous to fish
The Sea of Galilee was very shallow and below sea level so it was prone to quick storms as we saw in the Gospel they could be very frightening.

A fisherman has the Eye for right moment he knows when to pull up the net for the maximum catch. Jesus had an eye for the right moment because he discerned the exact moment to call Peter Andrew James and John.

A fisherman has to know the right bait, in other words the type of fish that he is fishing for and what they are looking for, what they like to eat. If you put the wrong bait on the line you will go home with no bait and no fish

A fisherman has to keep himself out of sight he can’t be the attraction the focus of attention. If the fish see him they will swim away.

I think it is also important to note that Jesus didn’t call perfect people

Peter would deny him three times and inadvertently tempt him against the cross.
Jesus was so desperate during that temptation that he said to Peter “Get behind me Satan”

James and John had dreams of grandeur and wanted to sit one thrones next to Jesus in Heaven. Even though Jesus had repeatedly taught that this type of scheming and pridefulness would lead to nothing good.

We hear next to nothing about Andrew author said maybe that is because he always took the safer course and was afraid to risk

Even with all of their faults Jesus did not revoke their call,
He refused to give up on them.

Every last one of them except John (The beloved disciple) would later give his life for Christ.

Peter the screwup would beg his excecutioners to be crucified upside down because he was not worth to die like Christ.

They were happy to comply

What does this all say to us..

God is active in our lives.
If we don’t feel it or see it
Then we are not looking or listening
Just like Jesus fished out his disciples God is desperately trying to fish us out
He uses anything he can our successes our failures our dreams our hopes our feelings our challenges.
Some of my most beautiful moments with God were when I was discouraged or sick or fed up
When I was happy and excited and moved.
God uses everything

If we claim to know Christ and follow him then we must live and act like his disciples.
By choosing fishermen Jesus teaches us that we must be

Patient and wait for the right moment in a person’s life to fish them out,
to call them to more

We have to persevere
No matter how lost they appear we can never give up on a person

We have to be Courageous… Our boat is small and the sea is so large

The world can be harsh and mean spirited.
We can be mocked and laughed at or even shunned one of the most painful human experiences

Do we have an eye for right moment?
If we would bring people to Christ we have to know when to pull the string when
We have to see when a person is ready for the good news.
Many times a person hears the Good News over and over and over again but they only are able or willing to accept it when the moment is right. Find the right moment.

Can we fit bait to fish?
What is the right bait for a kid in college or a senior citizen or a Mom who is exhausted caring for her children..
We can’t use the same bait for everyone.
That means we have to know the message and know people we are trying to bring it to.

Finally when we share the Good news we have to be so careful to keep ourselves out of the picture. I
t is so easy to fall into the trap of preaching ourselves rather than Christ.

Are we aware that God needs us
Are we aware that He is active in our lives
Are people better people because they know us
Are people better people because we were brave enough to call them to more

And our faults and failures are no excuse from the call of discipleship
the Apostles were also a mess and Jesus didn’t give up on them.

Who have we fished out of materialism?
Who have we fished out of narcissism?
Who have we fished out of despair

Who have we fished into hope, into love , into faith

Every day we should try to name them in our hearts
We should keep them close in prayer

And if we can’t name anyone
What are we waiting for ?
What is holding us back?
What are we afraid of?

Jesus said
Come follow me and I will make you fishers of Men.

Let’s trust Him and
Let’s follow Him

There are so many fish in the sea.

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