Fishers of men

Published January 11, 2021, 12:43 AM

by Manila Bulletin


The earliest account of the call of the first disciples is from the Gospel of Mark (1:16-20). The peremptory response of the “Big Four” (Simon and Andrew, James and John) in leaving their nets and family points not only to the magnetic and authoritative figure of Jesus, the Rabbi of Nazareth, but also to the immediacy of the response of those called, as idealized by Mark.

The call of the first disciples has become an emblem of the task that awaits the Church as it navigates the waters of history in the new millennium. St. John Paul II borrows from Jesus’ command in Luke, “Put out into deep water, Duc in altum,” to remind us that we too are fishers of men. We have to “catch” people and bring them to Jesus and the community of God’s own people.

Called to a “New Evangelization” to transmit the Christian faith, we are also called to “go into the deep”—to deepen our faith-relationship with the Lord and our brothers and sisters, and even to cross the oceans to help spread the faith. For this mission, we have the example and prayers of the two Filipino saints—Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod—catechists and martyrs of the faith.

Gospel • MARK 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: