3rd Sunday Year B
January 25, 2015
CARPENTER’S TRADE; FISHERMEN’S TASK
It is a curious fact that Jesus, who was a carpenter, chose fishermen and called them to mission. The builder and founder of the Church, an edifice built on rock that Jesus was declared to be by no less than the chief fisherman named Peter, chose people who lived mostly by the waterfront, to be the foundation stones of his Church.
I have no talent for carpentry. I have no experience fishing, both as a sport and as a trade. But I do know I need both. I love fish and I prefer fish to meat. I admire carpenters for they do things I cannot do. But they each have distinct tasks that cannot usually be done by one and the same person.
The Lord was founder and builder. The Lord was sent to build God’s Church, but the charism of “founder” is not the same as the charism and mission of “catcher.” The Lord was shepherd par excellence. He was the visionary and the messenger and mediator whose mission was uniquely his to share with others. And generously share it, he did, by calling Peter and the band of fishermen to do the catching, and to do the gathering.
Relatively recent Biblical scholarship tells us that fishermen were not exactly wretched people who knew nothing more than hauling fish. They were actually entrepreneurs in their own right, who had a thriving business, and who owned more than just dirty fishnets.
The Church is represented by the image of the carpenter, the builder, the charismatic founder. That role belongs to God alone in Christ His Son. No other can claim a right to found a Church. No human can usurp that divine prerogative, with all due respects to groups founded by human beings, both here and abroad. But the Church wouldn’t be the Church Christ founded without people being sent to do particular tasks. That image is represented by fishermen, called and sent for a mission – to be “fishers of people.”
As Supreme High Priest, Christ is both at one and the same time. He is priest, prophet, and king to the superlative degree. But that does not mean He alone possesses the role, for He has actually chosen to share all three, to Peter and the rest, who became what Christ was.
The carpenter par excellence has spoken. He speaks again, to us, now … And the task of the fishermen is to proclaim for all men and women to hear: “Repent and believe in the gospel.”
The net has been cast. The carpenter has sent the net casters for a mission. The question now for each one of us is this: “Are we willing to be caught?” “Are we willing and ready to be snared by His promises and teachings?”
Simon and Andrew, James and John today shows us the way. No hemming and hawing … no hesitation and mumbling reluctance … “They abandoned their nets and followed him.” “They left their father Zebedee in the boat, along with the hired men, and followed him.”