Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of the Prophet Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 25:4-9; First Letter to the Corinthians 7:29-31 and Mark 1:14-20
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
Today’s Gospel narrative is the account of Jesus calling His first four disciples from their lives of fishing to lives of finding. They are to become “fishers of men.” But why does Jesus call fishermen? Why not shepherds or farmers? According To William Barclay (1907-1978), the Scottish author and minister said, “…good fishermen possess the very qualities that Jesus wants.” Here are some of the reasons why:
First, a fisherman has patience. He learns to wait until the fish take the bait. If he is restless and quick to move, he will never make a good fisherman. It is rare that preaching and teaching the Word of God gets immediate results. Therefore, be patient.
Second, a fisherman has perseverance. They learn not to be discouraged but always to keep trying to make a catch. The good teacher and preacher must not be discouraged. He must always be ready and to keep trying.
Third, a fisherman has courage. A fisherman is ready to risk his life to face the fury of the sea in order to ply his trade. The good teacher and preacher must be well aware that there is always a danger in telling his listeners the truth. The preacher who tells the truth more often than not takes his reputation and his life in his hands.
Fourth, a fisherman has an eye for the right moment. The wise fisherman knows well that there are times when it is hopeless to fish in a certain location. He knows when to cast and when not to cast his nets. The good teacher and preacher chose’s his moments as well. There are times when the truth is welcomed. The wise preacher knows that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
Finally, the wise fisherman must keep himself out of sight. If he oversteps his own presence, even his own shadow, the fish will most certainly not bite. The wise teacher and preacher will always seek to present his listeners not with himself but with Jesus Christ. His aim is to fix his listeners not on himself but on the One who came to save us and lead us to His Father.
Catholic Christians should bear in mind that members of the clergy, that is, God’s holy ministers, are very human and have human frailties. But Jesus, who used Peter as the cornerstone of His Church, the same Peter who denied Him three times, can use imperfect men to accomplish their task of spreading the Good News. But on the other hand, as ministers of God, and in spite of our human frailties, the wise teacher and preacher will live out their vocations as a bishop, priest, or deacon to win all men and women back to God. Why? Because the person of Jesus Christ is acting in and through us.
Question of the Day: Will you pray for an increase in priestly vocations?
Prayer: Lord, raise up worthy ministers to Your altars to serve your people. Amen.