In this weekend’s gospel (Matthew 4:12-23) Jesus calls his first disciples, Simon and Andrew, James and John, to leave their old way of life and follow him. Jesus tells them, "I will make you fishers of men."
When I was a seminarian, I was assigned to work at St. Alphonsus Church in Tupper Lake in the summer. The pastor there, Fr. Don Manfred, was a wonderful man, but also living there was a retired priest, Msgr. Ed Dumas, who was an avid outdoorsman. He loved to hunt and fish, but I unfortunately did not share the same interest.
On my first day at the church, Msgr. Dumas, emerged from the garage with two fishing poles in his hands and announced that he was taking me fishing the next morning at 5 am.
I was not excited about the prospect of waking up early and going fishing, and I tried to come up with excuses, such as not having a fishing pole or not having a license. But Msgr. Dumas replied with the words that I will never forget, "You don't need a license! You're going with me!"
The next morning I got up early and I went fishing with Msgr. Dumas. I am glad I did, too, because he showed me a new way of life, I actually had a great time and I made a new friend.
In the same way Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John to leave their old way of life as fishermen and follow him, and as he says "I will make you fishers of men." Jesus is calling them to share the message of God with others.
It is important to remember that Jesus calls each of us to different paths and purposes. Although it does happen, not everyone is called to leave their job and become a priest, sister or a deacon. Jesus also calls each of us to serve him and give witness to him in different ways.
We are called to serve him in our secular jobs, as parents and grandparents, teachers, and friends and neighbors.
It is also important to remember that Jesus often calls people to make sacrifices and leave behind their old ways of life to follow him. This can be difficult, and it may require leaving behind familiar things, but the promise of eternal life and the fulfillment that comes with following Jesus can be worth it.
This week reflect on your own calling and the path that Jesus has for you.
Remember that to follow Jesus means to be open to new experiences, new people, and new perspectives. It may be scary and uncomfortable at first, but just like my fishing trip, we too will find joy and fulfillment in our new life with Jesus.
We might not understand it at first, but if we keep an open mind and heart, we will see the beauty of it.
Our love for Jesus is our license to be fishers of men. Let's go with Jesus and share the love and message of God with others.