There are two types of people in this world. Those that are fishermen and those that wish they were. Now that I have offended half of my readers I would like to say that I don’t think it’s any coincidence that most of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. If you indulge me a few moments I would like to tell you why I think this is so.
So what is it about fishing that attracted these men and what was it about these men that beckoned the call of Jesus to be his first priests?
First off, to be a successful fisherman one needs to be in tune to all the happenings of the weather. Fishermen are experts in knowing the temperature, wind and water. Because of this attentiveness they learn and develop techniques that enabled them to make their catch of the day. Secondly, a fisherman is blind when the fish hooks and knows there is a lot up to chance, he does all the work and preparation he can and then it is up to the fish to bite. A fisherman realizes that the amount of work and preparation he puts into making his catch does not always match up to what he actually brings in.
I think these two elements have great parallels in the life of a priest. If we are going to bring the message of the Gospel to each person we need to decipher the currents of culture and what is going on in that person’s life. We need to pay attention to what this person really needs in order to present them with the full attractiveness of Jesus’ message. Also, there are many times in a priest’s life when he cannot see God’s action in someone’s soul, this requires a lot of faith and prayer. A priest works very hard for others but he knows that it is only up to each person’s freedom along with God’s action in their soul that brings about a true conversion. Faced with this seeming imbalance between work and results I think both the priest’s and the fisherman’s answer would be the same though: That it is all worth it just for ONE. For Baptizing that one person, for that one person absolved of their sins, that one person who received the body of Christ because of the priest.
Lastly, fishermen make great story tellers and isn’t the mission of a priest to tell the story of Jesus Christ.