Weekend Reflections for 2/8/19
The Bible is very “fishy”, full of references to fish and fishing, but today we probably miss most of the symbolic references. For many of us, when we say we’re “going fishing,” we’re probably aiming for relaxation with no other goal in mind, and we might be pleasantly surprised if we actually catch a fish, though we might not know what to do with it once we catch it! But today’s gospel places fishing at the center of the call to discipleship. “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching (fishing for) people.” “And at that moment they left everything and followed Jesus.”
The Spanish language has a curious distinction that we don’t have in English. In Spanish, a fish which is still swimming around in the water is called “pesce,” while a fish which has been caught, and is ready to be cooked is called “pescado.” The truth of today’s gospel is that it is only because we are “pescado,” only because we have been caught up by God’s grace in Jesus, that we can swim around freely as “pesce” ourselves, and receive the call to go fishing for others.
We can only toil effectively in our mission as “fishers” for others if we at the same time receive and cooperate with the grace of our calling, the grace accomplished in Jesus, the grace we grow in every time we experience the Spiritual Exercises. It is only because we have been “fished,” only because of God’s purifying and redeeming grace in Jesus, that we can get about catching not just fish, but people.
And we are about this together. First caught up in the gospel net together, we are a “fishy” community of fishing disciples called by God’s grace. Once caught up in the gospel net ourselves, we are immediately called to drop our own nets, whatever impedes our fishing, and go about this new kind of fishing together, as disciples in a community that is all about this new kind of fishing, after a new kind of catch: to catch people, and drag them, through the miracle of God’s grace, into this net themselves.
-Fr. Ted Arroyo, SJ