I once took a fishing trip with a group of friends to the Gulf Coast. In a little town south of New Orleans, one of the top fishing guides in Louisiana was set to take our group out for the day. Now, I need to tell you, my younger brother got all the “outdoorsie” genes in my family! I was always the bookworm.
Well, after several hours of watching all my friends catch fish after fish, I noticed the guide getting really nervous. He started baiting my hook for me, casting for me, and getting a bit frantic that I wasn’t catching anything. Finally, I told him “Brother, don’t worry. I’m not upset or disappointed. All the rest of the fellas are fishermen. I’m just a fisher of men!” He smiled and we continued to enjoy our day.
In our Gospel lesson today we see our Lord sending out the Twelve disciples and the group of Seventy followers (St. Barnabas was their leader – pray for me, Holy father!) to the surrounding country. commanding them to “preach the kingdom of God and to heal.” (see Luke 6:17-19, 9:1-2, 10:16-22 for the whole story)
When they returned, all of them were excited to report that even the demons obeyed them as they obeyed Christ’s command to preach and heal. But the Lord reminded them that these wonderful events, as amazing as they were, was not the reason to rejoice. He told them “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Today, we are called to continue to obey Christ in being His Ambassadors of His Kingdom to this world. We are called to be “fishers of men” and to share the message of the Good News (the Gospel) with the world around us. We are primarily to do this by the example of our lives. Listen to what St. Paul tells young, St. Timothy “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:9-15)
Our greatest witness is always our conduct. Today, you may be the only “Bible” some will ever “read.” Your conduct, your choice of priorities, your words, your attitude, reveals to all around you (even to yourself) your truest self.
Today, let your conduct, your words, your actions, your choices, be informed by your love for God and your faithfulness to His Wisdom preserved for you in His timeless Church. As you begin your day, say a prayer that you will have words and actions that draw others to the life-saving Light of the Gospel. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (see Matthew 15:16)
By doing this, my dearest, you too will become a “fisher of men.”