Jesus is the leading fisher of men and women. Those he calls are also, though sinners, to be fishers of other sinners.
Jesus tells Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” And Simon answers, “Teacher, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing.” His dismay and that of his fellow fishermen, or fishers, show in the reply.
Peter adds, though, “But since you say so, I will lower the nets.” And his trust and obedience pay off.
Yes, the fisherman trusts a carpenter’s son. Were Simon one of Nazareth’s synagogue-goers, he might think, “Who does he think he is? What does this carpenter know about fishing?”
But the fisherman does not react so; he is not one of the wise, but of the lowly folks. Hence, he gets another thing that is of more value than a great catch of fish. For he, and James and John, get to move up; Jesus makes them fishers of men and women.
And who would not welcome such the new rank? It is no surprise, then, that the three bring their boats to the shore. They leave all and follow Jesus. It does not matter that they do not know yet what to follow Jesus fully means.
Sinful fishers of sinful men
Yes, there is much that that those who will be fishers of men and women will have to learn still. But for now, it is enough for Jesus that they heed his word and are in awe of its power. What matters is that they see the new that he, the Son of the Father, brings forth.
The Father has handed all things to the Son and only the Son knows the Father (Lk 10, 22). But now the Son chooses to share with sinful fishermen what he knows about his merciful Father. It so turns out since, just like his Father, he looks kindly on the lowly (Lk 1, 48).
So, lowliness is doorway and invitation to the new. Lowliness also lays bare our being human for it takes off the pretensions we use as armor. Thus disarmed, we will get to grasp that there is no one to go to but Jesus; he has the words of eternal life (Jn 6, 68).
No, life, the “horn” of salvation, does not lie in wealth and power (Lk 1, 69; 12, 15). Not in the molten calf, the projection of our pride and greed on a big screen (Ex 32, 4; Ps 73, 6). It is big and in three dimensions; it is not real though. Life lies, rather, in the shameful death on the cross, in giving up the body and shedding blood, for sins.
It is true, lowliness is the origin of all the good we do (SV.EN IX:530). That is to say, it opens the door to all other good works. Hence, those whom Jesus sends to be fishers of men and women cannot do without it (TWVDP 40-41).
Lord Jesus, your alone are the holy one. Grant us to confess that we are sinners. Make us grasp, when we fail and faint, that you and your life are what matters. May all your fishers of men and women put you back at the center of their lives and pastoral works. You are their life and death, their all (SV.EN I:276; SV.EN V:537). Thus, as witnesses that light up with your fire, they wake up faith in others.
6 February 2022
5th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Is 6, 1-2a. 3-8; 1 Cor 15, 1-11; Lk 5, 1-11