3rd Sunday (Year A) - 22 January 2017
• Isaiah 8:23-9:3 • Psalm 27 • 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17• Matthew 4:12-23 •
[__01__] Never having played a single down of football in his entire life, there was a young man at my very small college who was recruited to play football … because he could catch.
My friend’s father was the football coach and told me how he discovered this wide receiver.
“One day, I went to watch baseball practice. I saw this outfielder catching fly balls and I asked him if I could do that on the football field. He had never played football but said he would give it a try. ”
But this former baseball player went on to the most successful wide receiver in the school’s history, and the conference history. And, though he was from a small college where the games were never on television and never big national news… this young man was noticed and reported on in Sports Illustrated …. And later earned try-out with the NFL Indianapolis Colts later.
He could catch.
[__02_ ] / [__03_ ] In the Gospel of this Sunday, Jesus encounters some individuals who can catch. He is walking along the lake, the Sea of Galilee and he sees the fishermen, Andrew, Peter, James and John.
And, he is inviting them to leave one environment or field and go to a new environment. They are not, however, moving from baseball to football.
They are, rather, moving from FISHING to EVANGELIZING ….from casting their net into the sea to bring in the fish… to speaking and telling others the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
And, as Jesus says, “I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew ___)
[__05_ ] Jesus believed that each of his disciples could catch.
And, he believes that we can catch.
That is, Jesus needs you and me and Peter, Andrew, James and John to draw others to himself.
Yes, he will do miracles, he will heal people, do spectacular things. However, what about those who do not witness the spectacular miracles?
What about those who were standing in the back row ? Isn’t it true that we will accept the testimony of people whom we trust and whom we believe?
Jesus needs his disciples – and still needs you and me today – to bring others to know God better.
We do this both by our words and actions.
He also believed that each of them could be caught, meaning they could be called and taught …and that they could be taken to new places and people.
Do you and I want to catch?
Do you and I want to be caught, to be called and to be taught?
[__06__] “Catching” is not something that we do simply because we are a goalkeeper or a player in soccer, basketball, or football.
We go out each day to catch.
At school, we try to CATCH, to learn what is being taught to us. In this environment, we are also asked to pay attention and use two hands. We can catch.
And, we are called to recover if were to drop the ball.
In prayer and meditation before God, we are asked to pay attention and to use two hands, perhaps to engage e our whole body and mind in prayer so that we can CATCH – and comprehend – what the Lord is speaking to us.
Some of us, for example, using our 2 hands in prayer… will write and will keep a journal a prayer journal to recall what God is telling us with our 2 hands.
We may want to write it down with these 2 hands.
We may not get it – or understand it – the very first time.
We are learning to catch each day and to recover if there were an interception or dropped ball or something slips through our net or our hands.
[__07_ ] We need the help of others – our brothers and sisters, other believers, friends - to help us in this recovery.
At times, these relationships may remind us of things we dropped, what we have done or what we have failed to do.
And, at such times, we try to remember that God is love, God loves us and invites us after we have sinned.
As we read in the first letter of St. John, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Jesus challenges you and me, further, to tell us that we are called to catch others.
This sounds suspicious, dangerous. Do I need a license, a permit, a flashlight in order to catch others?
Jesus is asking us to announce the Good News of the kingdom to others.
We do this in every act of love, of charity, of mercy that we can. We may also need to pay attention to others.
By the way, we can “catch” others and draw them closer to God not only by noticing what they are doing wrong, but also be encouraging them for what they do right.
As we read in Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
[__10__] It’s easy to play catch when I only have to worry about myself.
But our Savior is inviting us to recall that God is Love and that God’s love always invites into community, into a relationship.
We are called to build each other up in love, in charity, in faith by what we give and receive from them.
Catching means we are open to God’s love in these relationships and that we are open to being perfected, in learning more each day.
The first disciples and you and I are also being led to a new field, a new place, to do – at times – what we have never done before.
Jesus is there with us. He is also what we receive. He is in our relationships, our net. This is the catch.