Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
1st Corinthians 7:29-31
Both our Old and New Testament lessons concern themselves with being called by God to a special task. In our Old Testament we read the familiar story of Jonah. Our reading begins with God calling Jonah a “second time” to go to the evil city of Nineveh and warn the people that God is about to destroy their city because of their sinfulness.
God had already told Jonah to go to Nineveh once before but Jonah attempted to flee on a cargo ship in an effort to say no to God’s call. You know the story of the storm and the big fish. So, this morning we see God calling Jonah a second time and we see that when God calls us he expects us to be obedient to that call.
In our New Testament lesson, we see Jesus calling Peter and Andrew and the brothers, James and John to follow him and become fishers of men. These men were already fishermen by trade and they apparently possessed the qualities needed to be successful fishermen, but Jesus told them he would hone those skills and raise them to new heights.
This morning we might look at the skills and attitudes needed to be a successful fisherman and we can see these same attributes in what Jesus was looking for in his new disciples. I’m told that 90% of all fish are caught by 10% of the fishermen. So, what makes for a successful fisherman?
First, they are willing to make the effort. They are willing to put in the time and energy to learn all of the tricks of the trade. Successful fishermen know where the fish are biting and what they are biting on. They know and understand the habits of the fish. Finally, they have patience. They may know all about their prey, but they have to be ready and willing to adapt to each situation and be patient.
What are some of the characteristics of a good fisherman? They love to fish. They have an infectious attitude…a contagious attitude…a positive attitude. They will tell you about the “big one” that got away, but they also will get excited telling you about the big one that they reeled in. They are more than happy to share their experiences while out on the water.
These are the same characteristics and attributes that Jesus was looking for in his disciples. Jesus was prepared to spend three years sharing his knowledge and encouraging these men to go out into the world with the Good News of the gospel because he knew that even the best fisherman could get better with practice.
At first, Jonah had said “no” to God’s call. What if Peter had told Andrew, “You go ahead. I have a family, I need to stay here and work in the family business”? Who would have become the spokesman for the twelve? Who would have preached in the streets of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and witnessed 3000 souls come to accept the Good News? What if John had told his brother, “You go on, I have some things to tend to. Maybe I’ll catch up with you down the road”? Who would have written the Gospel that described Jesus for us like no one else could have?
The scripture tells us that when Jesus issued his call that these men replied immediately. They left their nets and followed Jesus. They had no idea what the future might hold, but they were fishermen who accepted the challenge. Jonah learned his lesson the hard way and we should learn from his experience. God has placed his trust in you and me. He has a plan for each of us and he calls us to be obedient to his will for our lives.
God wants the best for each of us because God is good….all the time. Amen.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.