Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” (Mark 1:17)
Jesus began his ministry with regular people – not the high and mighty as many in the world (both current and ancient) would have him do. He looked to some fishermen, capable of a valuable trade, and turned their understanding of life on its head.
This story, the point at which we will enter into this short period of ordinary time this weekend, should speak to us in two key ways. First, most of us are just regular people, too. Jesus calls us wherever we are, whoever we are, and asks us to follow. God’s desire for us to join in the work of ministry knows no bounds that we humans can create. As throughout all of history, God calls those who the world does not expect and asks us to enter the fray.
The second way in which this story connects to us is that it reminds us, no matter what our profession may be, if we follow Christ, we have a new, common vocation. We are to seek after the lost, reach out to the broken, welcome the unwanted. In short, we are to “fish” for people. We are to draw them into God’s embrace by enfolding them into our hearts and lives.
It is quite a drastic change in a world that tells us we should only care for ourselves and our own. It is a call to transform our way of thinking in order that our way of living will also shift. Rather than to be sure we are thinking about other people who are beyond us, we should realize that all “other” people are now our own. Everyone is part of the family and no one is an “other” anymore.
The essential question for us, then, is how do we live out this calling? How do we open our arms and minds and hearts? How will we spend every day following the disciples into the world? How will we explain that we have gone fishing?