General, Joy of the Gospel

Fishers of Men Post-COVID19

By Laurika Nxumalo, Pretoria, South Africa

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. Luke 5:4-6

For 2 years we were away from church due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in those 2 years we, as a Church and as people of God lost a lot, it was our night of failure. Right now, through the lens of the Catholic Bishops in Southern Africa we are seeing a financially and spiritually struggling Church because of the high cost of living, but mainly because we lost congregants – some people have lost their jobs, others have passed on, and some never returned to church after the lockdown; however, Jesus, in today’s Gospel is commanding us, the clergy and the laity to lower our nets into deep water for a catch.

The keywords in Jesus’s command to Simon is “deep water” – the Son of God is commanding us to recommit ourselves fully to the our faith and to the Church so that we can abundantly catch the souls of many other people. We have listen to God and act upon His word; we must commit ourselves to His will in deep way. Jesus cannot command us to lower our nets while knowing that there are no fish in the water – the fish are there and are waiting to be caught. People are there – the relapsed Catholics, the seasonal Catholics, and the non-Catholics who aspire to be Catholics one day – the only thing we need to do as a Church and as members of the Church is to find effective ways in accordance to God’s Word to evangelize to them, so that the Catholic faith can touch their hearts in a remarkable way and call them back to God.

When we go into our parishes and into the world, calling people back to God we should not be afraid of anything because Jesus is with us in our boats – no storm will capsize those boats. Most importantly, we must be as obedient as Simon was. Deuteronomy 28:1-14, says when one is obedient they are abundantly blessed.

“Now, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD, your God, carefully observing all his commandments which I give you today, the LORD, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you when you obey the voice of the LORD, your God: “May you be blessed in the city, and blessed in the country! Blessed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks! Blessed be your grain basket and your kneading bowl! May you be blessed in your coming in, and blessed in your going out!”

The LORD will beat down before you the enemies that rise up against you; they will come out against you from one direction, and flee before you in seven. The LORD will affirm the blessing upon you, on your barns and on all your undertakings; he will bless you in the land that the LORD, your God, is giving you. The LORD will establish you as a holy people, as he swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD, your God, and walk in his ways. All the peoples of the earth will see that the name of the LORD is proclaimed over you, and they will be afraid of you. The LORD will generously increase the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil, upon the land which the LORD swore to your ancestors he would give you. The LORD will open up for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give your land rain in due season and to bless all the works of your hands. You will lend to many nations but borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head not the tail, the top not the bottom, if you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I am giving you today, observing them carefully, not turning aside, either to the right or to the left, from any of the words which I am giving you today, following other gods and serving them”.

May the Holy Spirit strengthen us!

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