“Follow me ….. and I will make you into fishers of men”. This is a call today that goes out to every one of us, not just a pre-selected few. It says “I will make you into” meaning that if we accept this call and change our life to follow him, He will turn our vocation in life into being “fishers of men”.
The first reading speaks of Jonah who initially rejected this call until he had his encounter with the whale. Most of us are like Jonah; we wish not to hear any call. We don’t want changes, and we certainly don’t want a tougher life. Call someone else, but please we pray, make our life better. Until we encounter our own whale.
We also enter into an argument with the Lord by showing him our busy daily schedule suggesting that our vocation in life is elsewhere. Lastly we will say we don’t know enough and truly we are not good enough. But the truth is “I will make you into” brings to life what we have always been hearing, “God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called”.
Becoming a fisher of men is the coming into a more meaningful life. Life becomes infinitely better when we discover its true meaning. This meaning lies hidden amongst the so many desires we have in our human life. We have desires because we search for happiness. We, like Jonah, go in all directions in search of this. But only the true meaning in life can bring us joy, fulfilment and true happiness.
The direction has never been hidden. He says clearly, “Follow me”. The disciples in today’s gospel showed us how, “At once they left their nets and followed him”. They certainly did not know what the call meant. Perhaps they might even have thought that it was just some different activity that they would do for the afternoon. They would not have thought then they would become apostles and saints. For them and for us, it begins with a smallish faith to say yes.
The consequences of “at once they left their nets” were only gradually revealed. They did not have the benefit of seeing the big picture and its rewards. Their lives changed. They found meaning in what they did. It was fulfilling. As days wore on, as faith grew and as hope beckoned, they were able to permanently let go of their fishing nets and exchanged their vocations to become “fishers of men”.
Unlike Jonah and the disciples then, we have the benefit of hindsight. We know where “Follow me” leads to. It leads to fulfilment and takes us above the challenges in human life. Our prayers will be answered. Life will be better and there is no other vocation to achieve this but to be a “fisher of men”.
The only qualification is our desire to be one. With that desire, He will make us into one. There is no need to leave our jobs, only a need to leave the way we think about our jobs. If we follow him, he will show us that all other vocations are meant to give us the means to live our human life but the vocation he gives us as “fishers of men” is the true meaning of this life we live. Joy, fulfilment and true happiness awaits and we are all qualified to have them.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time