Commentary on the Gospel of
Today’s Gospel reading has always been full of imagery for me. While reading the Gospel I can close my eyes and remember the drawings and paintings of Jesus sitting in the boat along the shoreline, usually dressed in a white robe, speaking to the throngs gathered to hear him. (The Lake of Gennesaret, today known as the Sea of Galilea, is located about 20 miles east of Jesus childhood home of Nazareth.) The disciples straining to lift the nets into the boat brimming with fish is also an easy image to conjure up. But the very heart of this Gospel, when Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men,” does not create instant images for me.
So what was Jesus saying really saying to Simon, a professional fisherman, when he uttered these words and in turn, what is he saying today to us in this passage? Was Jesus challenging Simon to look beyond what he did for a living and; and, to focus on what Simon could do to share the Good News? Today, is the challenge for us to be more than just parishioners who share our income with the church each Sunday when the offering plate is passed by but to likewise share the Good News; to be fisherman of men? I think this might well be the case and if you agree then the challenge for us is to expand our efforts beyond the weekly sharing of our income. How can we become involved in our community so we can live out our faith with those who share our beliefs and help guide into the net of safety those who are on the fringe of society, those who are disenfranchised, weak and lonely. This is the real work of the church that Jesus wants and needs us to do.