Grace and peace to you, from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
This morning, we are back in Mark’s Gospel, as we hear Jesus calling the first disciples to follow him. As I read different translations of this passage, I noticed that one translation says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” I hadn’t really paid that much attention to this translation, but this time I read it struck me that Jesus was calling them away from their regular lives. But he used words they would understand, “Fishers of people.” These first four disciples were already fishers, that is, people who made their living fishing.
When I was growing up on Long Island, my father and I would meet my Uncle Howie and my cousins Nancy & Donna at the boat ramp to go fishing. We brought food and drinks, worms from the back yard, fishing rods and hooks. And, of course, a radio so we wouldn’t miss the Mets or Yankees games. We spent the day fishing, but we were not fisher people. We didn’t depend on the fish we caught to feed our families, or sell them to make money. We went out for fun and time together, and if we didn’t catch a thing, it didn’t matter!
Peter, Andrew, James, and John did not fish for fun. They weren’t out there just to have a good time together. Fishing was hard work.
You had to know what you were doing if you were going to feed your family. They were skilled at what they did, and supported their families with what they caught. When we read or talk about the disciples being called, we often say they left the world they knew, and gave up their livelihood to travel with Jesus – sharing the Good News. But remember what Jesus said? “I will make you fishers of people!” What we did out on Long Island, to fish was fun and relaxing. If we didn’t catch anything, we would just stop and pick up food at the store. Not so much for the disciples. There was no Stop and Shop they could go to.
Jesus was telling them that following him – fishing for people – would demand everything they had, just like fishing for a living. Jesus was reaching out to the disciples, using words and ideas they would understand. We see Jesus use this way of calling people to follow, in other places in the Gospels as well. Jesus talked about sheep with shepherds and in his other stories about farming and many other ways.
So, how is God calling you to share God’s love? How does your life lend itself to loving your neighbors? This week, take some time to look for ways in your life. You are already following Jesus through ways that are unique to you, which gives us each a way to share God’s love with our neighbors. Amen.