Pastor’s Thoughts

Jan 29, 2024

The Gospel this weekend recalls how Jesus invited His disciples to come and follow him. Once they followed
him, they would now be “fishers of men.” This meant the disciples in turn would go out and invite others to
join them in a life changing experience by following the Lord Jesus (this is called evangelization).
I remember growing up going with my grandparents to Canada for a fishing trip in the Georgian Bay Area. It
was an annual outing for them and another couple. I recall how my grandfather and his friend Joe would hire
a guide to bring their boat where the fish were biting. I recall my first time in the boat fishing with my
grandfather, Joe, and our guide, and nothing was biting. After several hours in the hot sun, my grandfather, with
over 15 years in the same lake fishing, suggested another area that occasionally they caught fish in past
years. Sure enough we all dropped our lines and each caught a good amount of Northern Pike.
One thing is for sure, you cannot force a fish to come to your line even with best guide! You can use the
juiciest bait, the best lure, the most expensive troll, you can even cast your line to all the known places where
the fish are, but a fish only comes to the line when it wants. Jesus is using this same type comparison when
he give His disciples the ability to be ‘fisher’s of men’. Not everyone believed or followed the disciples fishing
line as it was cast during the time of Jesus. You cannot force anyone to have an experience of Jesus. You can
only cast an ‘offer’ and show by ‘example’ how Jesus is working in your life. How often I hear parents who try
so hard to get their children to return to the church, but have little success. I know couples who for no reason,
choose to marry outside the church and not choose the blessings of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. I
believe that ‘example’ is the mother of all teaching and will best allow others to take the bait. It’s said that you
can’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. So, a good message for all of us is to remember: in order to ‘catch’,
we must approach slowly, lovingly, and put forth the best example of charity we can. After all, your attitude
and demeanor may be the only living Bible the person you are trying to reach has ever read.