Theme: Called to be Fishers of Men not Fishermen
By: Fr. Evaristus Okeke
Homily for Tuesday November 30 2021
Romans 10:9-18; Ps.19; Matthew 4:18-22
The gospel reading of today enlightens us on the fact that salvation is not something that has been predestined for certain persons. Salvation is for those who hear the voice of Christ and give a positive response to it. Andrew and his brother Peter, grew up like every other youth in their locality. Their occupation was not different from what was predominant amongst the people: fishing. Minding their own business, they represent man in the state of nature whereby all he does is for himself. All his labour is geared towards satisfying his daily needs.
When Jesus called Andrew and Peter his brother, he changed their career. They will no longer catch fish for their personal need; instead, they will now catch men, not for themselves but for God. If they were to become fishers of men for their personal gain, then they would be practicing slavery/human trafficking. But since they were catching men for God, they were simply participating in the co-redemptive work of Jesus.
This is something we really need to take to heart if our preparation for our earthly end must be meaningful. A time comes in life when our affinity with all that we have acquired expires: family, possessions, positions, connections and so on. At such moment, the only thing that will stand is what we have done for others. Love has no end. The first reading makes it clear that the feet of those who preach the goodnews are beautiful. That is, the real beauty of life is experienced when we live for others.
In the gospel acclamation, Jesus said: “follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. By this Jesus tells his would-be followers that only those who can live for others will be able to belong to him. If you want to remain a fisherman; one who fends for himself alone, then you cannot belong to Jesus.
Living for others has its pains and hurts such as being taken for granted, being misunderstood, and so on. However, these are the very definitions of martyrdom in our world today. You may not be faced with death for being a good Christian, but you will surely be presented with all forms of obstacles and discouragements. Your refusal to give in is your martyrdom.
St. Andrew is said to have been martyred during the reign of Nero at Patras on 30 November 60 by being tied (not nailed) to a cross made like the letter X. In this way, his suffering was prolonged. Andrew is said to have continued to preach to the faithful for two days before his expiring. He is the patron of Russia and of Scotland, also of fishermen and of Spinsters. St. Andrew…Pray for us. *God Bless You!*
Fr. Evaristus Okeke