Oh, I don’t know how much there is to add to this Sundays entry since I have written nearly everyday this week. Todays readings focus on Jesus calling his Apostles to become fishermen of men and declaring the Kingdom of God to be at hand. To start with that Kingdom of God, I think one has to look at what Jesus had just departed from. What he departed from after his confrontations was clearly not the Kingdom of God. What I should point out is that though his conversations with those Pharisees was confrontational, they were likely the most civil of conversations He had. The Romans were occupiers of the land and lorded over them, King Herod was paranoid regarding anyone ascending to the throne of David. The Pharisees at least carried on a discussion.In looking at the Kingdom of God, one can start at looking at what the Kingdom of God is not. It is not any of those Kingdoms where man has declared himself God, it is not where man has declared himself King. The Kingdom of God is Gods creation obedient to their God. It is the Kingdom where God is King and man a servant obedient to Gods laws. The Kingdom of God is at hand. When thinking of this Kingdom , one might be wise to think justice and wisdom over politics and leaders.
For the Apostles mission of becoming fishers of men, one can take a look at the first reading which is from the book of the prophet Jonah. That book is likely the most comedic of any of the books in the bible. It tells the story of Jonah, an arrogant and disobedient servant of God. He is given the assignment of warning the Ninevites to repent for their sins or face the wrath of God. Being the enemies of Jonah and the Israelites, Jonah does not wish to deliver this message. He rebels against God so much that while travelling on a boat a storm at sea frightens his shipmates to the point that they throw the arrogant Jonah overboard. What is a fisher of men? Someone that fishes the likes of Jonah from the seas of sin and disobedience and arrogance and ignorance and anything else that goes against God. In contrast to the way Jonah behaved when being called by God, Jesus disciples are obedient. Their mission as Apostles is to learn and carry the message of Jesus to the world.
What now is the difference between those first century apostles, and a twenty first century apostle? In that first century they had the Christ of the Nativity, and the Christ of the Passion. We have the Christ of the Ascension. Our mission also calls to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. It also calls to make Christ visible to the world, and making Christ visible is the best way to bring lost souls to the Lord. It means not simply preaching Christianity, but truly living it and setting ourselves apart from the world as disciples of Christ. That is not simply doing all that is permitted in society, but doing what Christ has demanded we do. It is lighting a path to that Kingdom he preached by both word and action so that others might follow.It is keeping ones eyes on the prize that is the Kingdom of God. Being a twenty first century apostle requires being Christ like in our actions. We still live n the Kingdom of man, but have our sights on Gods Kingdom. We still have the disobedient Jonah’s in this world, but we also have Christ’s message to fish them out of the sea. We have all it takes to be those fishers of men, Apostles of Christ.