Fishers of Men: The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI
Liturgical Colour: Red.
Reading 1: ROM 10:9-18
Responsorial Psalm: PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Holy Gospel: MT 4:18-22
Today’s Holy Gospel Reading tells us this:
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
If you have ever been fishing, you will know how important it is to know the type of fish you are looking to catch, and how to attract it so that you can land it successfully. Before anyone goes fishing, it is a must to know which equipment to use, to have the knowledge of the surrounding habitat and the depth of the water of where you are intending to fish, It is also important to ensure you have the correct bait for the fish you are intending to catch, so that the fish will be interested in going after it. That is what is required if we go fishing in the usual sense of the word, but how do we relate this knowledge of going fishing, to us as Christian children of God being fishers of men?
God asks us to make disciples of all nations of the world (Matthew 28:18–20). Just as in preparation to go for an afternoon of fishing, we also need equipment to go fishing, we need the important equipment to be fishers of mankind. Putting on the armour of God is one way to be ready at all times with everything we need (Ephesians 6:10–18). Especially important are the shield of faith with which we ward off the opposition from the evil forces who don’t want to see mankind saved by the gospel of Christ (v. 16) and the sword of the Spirit, which of course, is the Word of God (v. 17). Without these two vital pieces of spiritual equipment, we will find fishing for the souls of mankind to be impossible.
Ok, so now we have the equipment, but just like in actual fishing, we must also know the fish we are trying to catch. Knowing the lost and needy condition of the people around us will help us to understand that, no matter how good we are at fishing, we will never “catch” the fish by ourselves. No reasoned argument will convert the soul of a darkened mind, because “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). But God can and frequently does penetrate the darkness with the glorious gospel, and He uses us to do it. He knows which “fish” are His; therefore, we are to seek out His wisdom and His guidance on all our fishing expeditions. Prayer is a must!!
Lastly we must offer the only effective net—the gospel of Jesus Christ. To us, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). The gospel message has the power to change people’s lives, to shine a light into the darkness, and deliver mankind from sin to eternal salvation. There is power in no other message than the Holy word of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and no other “net” which is able to catch the fish of God. “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). This was Jesus’ message to Peter and Andrew—follow Me, learn of Me, know and understand My mission and My message. Only then will you be able to be fishers of men.
Let us pray:
Father, it is during times of discouragement, bewilderment, or delay that we find ourselves more attentive to godly instruction. It seems our hearts are more yielded and our minds more absorbing of the truths You want to convey when we’re no longer trying to take charge. Like the disciples who were fishing in the usual way expecting the usual results we also relate to such efforts. But You are extraordinary and You do extraordinary work in our lives as we yield our will to Yours and heed Your instruction. Shape us into the most useful and enduring vessel that brings glory to You while we cast our nets for the great catch of men and women, boys and girls for the kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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