February 7, 2016 – Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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When I read the Gospel of Luke 5:1-11, I can’t help but to think about something I really enjoy doing. Something I don’t do enough of, though. That’s fishing. I love to go fishing! It’s calming, peaceful and rewarding. Me, fresh air, water and fish. It just doesn’t get much better than that!

When you tell someone you’re going fishing though, you don’t say, “I’m going catching.” The reason: You don’t catch them all. You sure try, but you just don’t catch them all. Not because you don’t give it your best effort and with the desire to reel them all in; it also takes the fish to help in the process by accepting what you’re throwing out to them.

After being out on the water for a few hours without success, you get tired and hungry. When nothing’s biting, you just feel like quitting because you’re not seeing the rewards.

Now, imagine you’re Simon and Jesus walks up to you after you have worked hard all day fishing with no luck or fish to show for your efforts. “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” It would be easy to see Simon’s face and understand if he said, “I’m done for the day!” But, even though Simon didn’t initially want to cast out his nets again because he had been unsuccessful all day, he did as Jesus asked and threw his net back out to the water one more time. The results were HUGE! His nets overflowed with fish to the point that he had to call over another boat to help carry in the haul. Both boats were so full they almost sunk! Because they believed, Jesus rewarded them with a harvest greater than they have ever seen.

Can you imagine the excitement you would feel after a haul like this? The largest catch you’ve ever experienced. You would be able to feed the masses and provide for your family and friends for a long time. You would be looked upon as a provider and master fisherman.

Now this passage is much deeper. Simon only threw his nets back out because Jesus asked him to. He was ready to quit for the day and didn’t think there was a single fish to be caught, but he did as he was asked and was rewarded abundantly. This shows each of us how incredible God works for and through us if we believe and trust. Simon was ready to settle for nothing, but he believed and received huge rewards.

To me, this shows that with our obedience, God works within and through us for great deeds to occur. From the large amount of fish caught, many were fed. From obeying, Simon and others benefitted. In modern ways, by being the face of Christ for someone in need and providing them hope, they will benefit, and we shall receive His love and approval.

If we listen to God’s voice and hear it, truly hear it, we will “catch” men around us and become the fishers of men that God tells Simon he shall now become: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” That is what we are all truly called to do. Populate Heaven by the abundance of brothers (men) and sisters (women) we lead to Christ by our efforts. By our sharing of faith and His message to others, Christ smiles and rewards us as well as them. By our fishing, we populate Heaven and His Kingdom.

I love fishing! I love casting His face out upon the water, watching it reflect back and be seen by others. I am a fisher of men. Who will join me? We may not catch all of them, but we’ll give it our best effort and catch those who allow Christ’s face to be seen upon them through us. We can’t quit casting though, because we may miss one of them swimming close to the bank…ready to join us!

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