Fishers of men… .


Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 434 Lk 5:1-11

Luke’s imagery in describing the scene of Jesus preaching at the shore of lake Gennesaret is rich in it’s detail. From the start he describes some fishermen finishing their journey in cleaning their nets while Jesus begins to introduce his disciples to their own new journey. As he instructs Simon to push his boat  a little bit off the shoreline so that he might preach to the people,  he places this fisherman at once in a familiar environment and at the same time in a place where he might be able to gain a new perspective. Simon was familiar with being on the water in his livelihood as a fisherman, yet imagine the way he viewed the crowds from this “fisherman’s” vantage point.How different they must have looked from when he walked amongst these crowds. Amongst them they were colleagues he could converse with, rulers he feared, young, old, men, woman or child. They were possibly Jews, Gentiles, Romans and Greeks. From the water though they were an audience. As Jesus taught some must have walked closer, while others drifted away;schooling like fish in the water. What a perfect vantage point for this fisherman to observe Jesus teaching ! Jesus , after preaching, has Simon push out to deeper waters to do some fishing. Simon is reluctant as he had been fishing all night with little luck. Jesus had him push out a little further from his comfort zone, a little deeper in the water and a little deeper in his ministry.Jesus had preached at the synagogues, sometimes with success and other times not. Simon fished that night with little success. Gentiles too had heard his teaching, some eagerly listened and others not. Jesus had Simon drop his nets over the other side and the catch was so large it nearly split the nets.What a difference a change in time and place can make in fishing. Does that sound familiar to the gospel accounts of Jesus’s preaching throughout the holy lands? His preaching, like dropping a net, moved to where the harvest was bountiful. The waters were a little deeper, his discussions not limited to the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, or the temple priests but to all Gods people, all who were drawn to his word. That was a bountiful harvest. His mission might have started with Nazareth but the abundant harvest included Jericho to Jerusalem, to Samaria, to Tyre . His disciples, Simon James and John were about to become fishers of men casting a net to all Gods people and that truly was deeper waters and an abundant harvest.

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