2cornucopias

Evangelization

In 09 Faith Journey on 2012/06/19 at 9:11 AM

Pope Benedict XVI

Homily of the inaugural Mass of his  pontificate, 24/04/05 (trans. © Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

« From now on you will be catching men » (Lk 5,10)

Peter’s call to be a shepherd (Jn 21,15-17)…  comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish: after a night in which the disciples had let down their nets without success, they see the Risen Lord on the shore. He tells them to let down their nets once more, and the nets become so full that they can hardly pull them in; 153 large fish: «and although there were so many, the net was not torn».

This account, coming at the end of Jesus’s earthly journey with his disciples, corresponds to an account found at the beginning (Lk 5,1-11): there too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: «Master, at your word I will let down the nets.» And then came the conferral of his mission: «Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men».

Today too the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel – to God, to Christ, to true life. The Fathers made a very significant commentary on this singular task. This is what they say: for a fish, created for water, it is fatal to be taken out of the sea, to be removed from its vital element to serve as human food. But in the mission of a fisher of men, the reverse is true. We are living in alienation, in the salt waters of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us out of the waters of death and brings us into the splendour of God’s light, into true life. It is really true: as we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God. It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men.

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