Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: FISHERS OF SOULS
By: Very Rev. Fr. John K. Louis
Homily for Sunday February 6 2022
READINGS: Isaiah 6:1-8/ 1 Corinthians 15:1-11/ Luke 5:1-11
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The first reading recounts the call of the prophet Isaiah. Similarly, the gospel reading narrates the call of the fisherman Simon Peter and some of his fishing folks. In the latter case, those who were engaged in the natural trade of catching fish for a livelihood were called to become fishers of men. This homily, therefore, reminds us that we are all called to become fishers of souls and it suggests how we can go about fishing souls for Jesus Christ.
A CALL TO ALL
“Jesus said to Simon [Peter], ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will become a fisher of men.’” (Luke 5:10). Beloved, the task to fish souls for Christ is not for only the apostles, their successors (bishops), priests, deacons, religious and catechists. It is, indeed, for all of us. In other words, every Christian, especially if he/she is confirmed or old enough to be confirmed, has the duty to fish souls for Christ.
PASSION FOR SOULS
When Jesus called Simon Peter and his colleagues, they promptly brought their boats and the great catch of fish to land, then “left everything and followed Him” (Luke 5:11). The urgency with which Simon Peter and the others abandoned everything to follow Jesus shows their passion for the new business of fishing souls. Beloved, how passionate are we in fishing souls for Christ? In our daily conversations with our family members, friends, colleagues, etc. does the Good News of salvation in Christ feature? Or has it become a taboo-topic?
If we are often excited about sharing the latest information we receive with family and friends, then let us be more passionate about sharing with them the Good News, which is the best news mankind will ever have. If we enjoy sending to them messages, pictures and videos through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and e-mails, then, let us think about how best we can use the same media to deliver the Good News to them.
If we are concerned about the future good standard of living of our family and friends, then we should be more concerned also about the future of their souls – namely, the salvation of their souls. How can we be so concerned about the brief future of 50, 60 …100 years of earthly life, and be less concerned about the everlasting glorious living in heaven?
HOW TO FISH SOULS
How then do we fish for souls? There are several ways for fishing souls for Christ. Here, let us learn how to fish souls by considering the natural fishing enterprise.
Fishing Net: The fishing net, like the internet which gathers information, is used for gathering fish. Similarly, to fish souls, we need a soul-net by which souls can be gathered for Christ. The Word of God is the soul-net. Now, just as a fishing net has to be cast into the sea or a body of water to catch fish, so the Word of God has to be proclaimed to fish souls. That is, through the proclamation of the Word of God, those who hear it may have faith and be saved. Thus, St. Paul affirmed: “For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ But how are they to call on One in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in One of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim Him?” (Rom. 10:13-14). Therefore, let us endeavour to study the Word of God and confidently proclaim it to others.
The Bait: The bait is used to attract fish into a trap/net. The miracles that accompanied the ministry of the apostles were like bait for fishing souls. We may not have the gift of miracles, but there are other types of bait we can use. We can use charity, good lifestyles, etc. as bait to attract people indirectly to Christ. After a while, then, we can share the Word of God with them. This we should do more promptly, especially, if they ask about our faith and hope in Christ: “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Subsequently, we may encourage them to attend Mass or take part in some other soul-uplifting programmes with us.
Beloved, the merciful Lord’s arms are ever widely opened to welcome souls and save them. But, then, He wants us to gather souls into His ever-opened merciful arms. Therefore, let us reach out into the “deep seas” of our community or town to fish souls for Christ. However, those who are beginners in fishing souls can start with the project of a soul for Christ per year. That is, beginners could aim at attracting, at least, a soul to Christ every year. Finally, may the Spirit of the Lord stir in us a passionate love for fishing souls! Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John K. Louis