Call of the Fishermen
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8)
“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” (Luke 5:10)
In this dialogue between Our Lord and Simon Peter, we hear of Our Lord calling ordinary men, fishermen by trade, to do a supernatural task – to catch men, to save souls. Our Lord called Simon Peter and the others to leave everything and to follow Christ. Bishop Paul Chomnycky, Eparch of Stamford, who had given the conference talks at this year’s Clergy Conference noted in his second talk that it is precisely in this willingness to leave all behind and follow the Lord that we find our liberation, freedom to serve God and the People of God.
Simon Peter and the other fishermen had labored long, throughout the day, in order to catch some fish, but they had caught none. After Jesus had addressed the crowd, preaching about the Kingdom of God in their midst. Afterwards, Jesus says to Simon Peter: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” In reply, Simon Peter says: “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”
Despite his hesitancy, Simon Peter follows the instructions of the Lord and is amazed at what a great catch of fish. So great number of fish were caught that their fishing nets were tearing. Also, they called for help from their partners in the other boat. Together both boats were filled to capacity and were in danger of sinking.
Simon Peter truly experienced amazement at this great catch, but he also felt an unworthiness to be in the presence of such a person as Our Lord Who possessed divine power. Our Lord then goes on to reassure Simon Peter and tells him: “Do not be afraid…” The Lord was planning to make the fishermen “fishers of men” – to rescue, catch men from the evil inclinations of this world and bring them in safely into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Having brought their boats to the shore, the disciples left everything and followed Him. This attitude of sacrifice – giving up all they possessed in order to follow Christ is liberating. This act of self-giving enables us to truly love God above all and love our neighbor without exception. This self-giving, self-sacrificial Love was demonstrated by the Lord by His willingness to carry His Cross to Calvary, to free us from the bondage of sin and open wide the gates to the Heavenly Kingdom.
Giving our “all” to Christ is truly “liberating.” We can then accept the salvation Jesus Our Lord had done for us by His holy and life-giving Cross. This too we do, all for the greater glory of God and salvation of souls.
Rev. D. George Worschak