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Jesus promises a catch of ‘bigger fish’
Is 8:23-9:3; 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17; Mt 4:12-23
After his baptism by John the Baptist, followed by 40 days of prayer in the desert, and John’s imprisonment, Jesus leaves Nazareth to begin his public ministry of teaching, preaching and healing – not in large cities like Jerusalem, Alexandria or Athens but in the little fishing village of Capernaum along the Sea of Galilee. Jesus proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Throngs of people gather to listen and to follow him.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus walks along the Sea of Galilee and sees two fishermen, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, casting their nets into the sea. He calls out, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” They leave their nets and follow Jesus.
Farther along the shore, Jesus sees James and John in a boat mending nets with their father Zebedee. He calls out to them, too. They leave their father in the boat with the hired men and follow Jesus.
Two sets of brothers and the first four apostles. There are no interviews, no job descriptions, no salaries – just Jesus’ promise they will catch “bigger fish.” They drop everything and leave their families and their thriving business – boats, nets, crews – to follow Jesus.
Growing in their love for Jesus, the apostles will help carry on his work, spread the teachings of Jesus, talk about God’s great love for all people, heal the sick and forgive sins. People will learn to know, to love and to follow Jesus.
For us, too, nothing is more important than following Jesus. Jesus says, “Come after me. Spend time with me in prayer, come to Mass and listen to my Word and visit me in the Blessed Sacrament.”
We can follow Jesus right where we are by the way we live – by being obedient to God’s rules, by being good and kind, by sharing and helping people in need. We use our talents and abilities to love God and others. By our words and actions we can bring others to Jesus.
Jesus continues to call, “Come after me.”