On first reading of the gospel, one immediately thinks of “fishing for men” and all that is associated with that concept. I call your attention to the last sentence: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. Consider which is the greater way to “fish for men”—to invite others to work with you to offer salvation to all OR to do good deeds that show what it means to be involved in your work. I think neither is more but both are valuable methods. Also, the latter will likely bring workers into the fold that you may not have even considered.
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. . . Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. . . . Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
sermons4kids: “Jesus wants you and me to fish for people, too. That means that Jesus wants us to tell others about what He has done for us and what He wants to do for them. ”
Collect: Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: What does Jesus mean when he calls his follower to be “fishers of people”? What must I leave behind to be a faithful disciple of Jesus?
Practice: What are ways you can fish for people?
Saint Focus: Did you know that Florence Li Tim-Oi was the first woman ordained as a priest in the Anglican Communion? To be ordained, she had to trek through Japanese-occupied territory. Because it was 30 years before women were recognized as priests in other Anglican churches, she gave up practising as a priest though she never renounced her orders. Eventually, she moved to Canada where she began to practice again. Read more at the link below [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 23; Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, 1893, AND Satoko Kitihara, Worker of Charity, 1958
- 24; Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, 1944
- 25; The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle
- 26; Timothy & Titus, Companions of Saint Paul
- 27; John Chrysostom, Bishop & Theologian, 407
- 28; Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Friar, 1274, AND Isaac of Nineveh, Bishop & Mystic, c.700
- 29; Andrei Rublev, Monk and Iconographer, 1430
Ear Worm: “We’re following Jesus“, kids’ song; “Jesus calls us“, hymn; “O, chi, chi mi na morbehanna” by The King’s Singers [editor’s note: this lovely song is about returning to one’s homeland and all the comfort that brings to the traveler and is intended to remind us of what the disciples gave up when following Jesus’ call].
Brain Food: “A call to follow” by Kathryn Matthews; “Fly fishing for Christ” by Ken Kesselus; Poem:
Fishers of Men
Have you caught any fish, have you ever tried?
Have you told anyone why Jesus died?
Have you cast your net out on the sea,
Or is it lying crumpled, there at your feet?
Do you cling to the shore, afraid to sail?
Do you refuse to go, afraid you’ll fail?
There’s only one way to be a fisher of men—
Take up your net and go follow Him.
©1996 J M McIntosh
Movies/Videos: “The Lord of the Rings“, Mr. Frodo is called to “destroy the evil one”; “The Green Mile“, Tom Hanks’ character is called to “the cause of grace . . .”; a comparison of six popular movies and how the “call” is addressed.
image Agnus Dei by Francisco de Zubaran at the Museo de Prado
Sometimes churches have trouble getting along. In the epistle, Paul’s pastoral response to the troubles within the Corinthian church speaks to church dissent and dispute today as well as when it was written. Focus on the last verse: “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” As Christians, we need to strive for unity and on living out the gospel. What are some “arguments” you’re aware of within the church that frustrate you and why? What would you rather the arguments or discussions be about? If you were to write a letter to the Church today in a manner similar to Paul’s letter, what would you say? Excerpted from the Stewardship of Life website.
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On the Sundays after the Epiphany, the liturgy continues to reveal ways in which Jesus was shown forth to be the Messiah in his ministry. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus calls his first disciples, at least two of whom he had met earlier. Taking them from their work as fishermen, he calls them to fish for people.
Matthew began his account of Jesus calling his Galilean disciples beside the sea by repeating the vision of Isaiah that salvation for all would begin there beside the sea. Therefore, we have as our first reading that passage from Isaiah.
In today’s reading from 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses one of the problems plaguing the church in Corinth: disunity. Here it is the breaking of unity into little cliques each claiming superiority because of who first preached the gospel to them: Paul, or his successor Apollos, or Cephas (Peter), or Christ. Paul appeals to them to overcome their divisions and to be united in Christ.
Jesus’ ministry was corporate rather than individual from its beginning. His first act was to gather a community of believers that announced God’s plan to the people; united in trust in Jesus. We also are part of that community. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we are shown forth to be the extension of the incarnation of God’s Son into our own time and place.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.