Interesting, that as we celebrate just the third week of Ordinary Time, Scripture for this day is sounding much like the Lenten season: “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
It seems we ought to be hearing more about the little child Jesus, his growing up and maybe more of the experiences had by the Holy Family. But our Church has, in a way, fast-forwarded us to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, as the Gospel of Mark tells of his identifying and calling forth the men we have come to know as his disciples, or Apostles. At times we interchange these two words; disciples and apostle, the distinction being that a disciple is “a follower or student of a teacher or leader,” and so we are disciples as followers and learners of Jesus. Apostle refers to “one who is sent on a mission.” Jesus first chose disciples, he then instructed them and “sent” them out as his apostles. We understand Apostles, capitalized, to be one of the twelve whom Jesus chose, taught, and then sent.
The men Jesus sent were for the most part fishermen by trade, so when Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men,” they might have questioned, what does he mean to fish for men? Jesus of course, meant that he would teach them how to gather men (people) and help them to understand who Jesus was and how God was with them. Now, more than 2,020 years later do we understand what it means to “fish for men”?
Do we understand our call as disciples to teach others and provide them knowledge of who Jesus is? That is the mission of the Catholic Church, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world and by our baptism we are called to participate in that mission. In responding to that call, we become apostles.
So, are we to leave our families, our way of life and travel about the world to preach the message of Jesus?
Maybe not so literally, although some people are called and do become missionaries, dedicating the whole of their lives to the mission of preaching and teaching about Jesus. We can accomplish the same in many varied ways, often without leaving our homes, or jobs, or school. We can teach and preach about Jesus by our actions. As his disciples, we can live our lives in such a way that we convince others that it is the love of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that guides us and forms us to become the people God intended we be. Christ-like people who love without judgement, show mercy to others, forgive, and pray as Jesus taught.
So, think about how you teach others by your example.
Think about how you reflect, or not, the love of Jesus Christ for all people. And let us not forget that our actions often speak louder than our words. May God bless us all as we continue the mission of our beloved Church that began as Jesus chose those first fishers of men.