Father Labib Kobti

Sunday and Holy Day Reflections

From Fishermen to Fishers of Men
Matthew 4: 18-22

Simon and his brother Andrew, John and his brother James with their father Zebedee were fishermen. At theta time being a fisherman was a great profession. They could be rich or average people. Having a boat at the lake of Galilee is like to day having a good car. Because they needed to build the boat or purchase it and it expensive. Specially when you speak about this important sea of that time where the people of Galilee could get good fish. Till today people speak about the good fish of Tiberias of the old name sea of Galilee. They needed to buy nets. Nets were also expensive. Simon, Andrew, John, James and Zabedee were good professional fishermen. They know when to fish and how to do it. The sea were giving them a lot of free fish. They did not need to buy anything more than a boat and nets. They could have hired some fishermen to work for them. They could have had a kind of small company of fishermen. They used to sell them and get every day a lot of money. They could work every day and every day they could get some fish to sell. They were happy fishermen. They were in need of nobody.

As Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee, we read in the Gospel, he saw them and called them saying: "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men". The Gospel tells us that: "At once they left their nets, Simon ands Andrew, and followed Jesus." Mat 4:20 The we read about the other two, John and James: "They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending the nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him" Mat 4:21-22

We wonder what made them do that? How could tow words of Jesus make them leave their profession, their boat and their family and follow Jesus? I wonder for whom did Simon and Andrew left their boat. I can imagine that the two brother let the boat for their father who would hire people to work for him, but I wonder again about Simon and Andrew.

What did Jesus had promised them? All my knowledge of the Gospels tells me that Jesus did not promise them anything about their way of life, where they will be living and sleeping and what they will be eating. On the contrary we read that Jesus had promised them persecutions and sufferings, that they will be hated because of him. They will be misunderstood by their own family and people because they had followed him. I can read that they also suffered hunger and thirst. They had to pick wheat during the journey and eat it from the farms and on the Sabbath and it seems against the Jewish tradition, and because they were starving.

Can you leave your studio, your company, your profession or your business for something that you are not sure of? Do you think that it was wise that the disciples had done something like that?

The word of Jesus should have a special meaning for them. His way of asking them, of calling them, of looking at them, and them feel hope, peace, joy and love. They had never experienced during their days and nights of work such a peace of mind and a determination in their lives.

We read about Simon one time accepting drive his boat with Jesus when he had have a bad fishing that night and Jesus proved to him and he is a better fisherman than him and made the boat filled with great kinds of fish.

John and James were already disciples of John the Baptist. They have heard about Jesus from John the Baptist and they were preparing their father that they day will come when they will find the Messiah they will leave him.

To be a fisher of men, it needs a commitment. This commitment is built of our faith on the word of Jesus. This commitment is more important that the love to our family, it is a call to serve God for good.



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16 May 2006