If the baptism of Jesus inaugurates the public aspect of his mission among

men, the moment of John the Baptist's arrest by King Herod (cf. Mk. 6:17;

Mt. 14:3) allows Jesus to become very close to each one of us by taking on

the appearance of a convert.  Indeed, it is at that moment that Jesus

decides to return to Galilee and, after preaching for the first time in

Nazareth, settle in Capernaum.  Now, this region of Galilee is where Christ

would tell his disciples to seek him after his Resurrection: Galilee is the

region of the new times, the times that are no longer those of the earth,

but those of Heaven!

 

Galilee, Capernaum, it is in this region that Mount Tabor is located, the

place where humanity regenerated in Christ would appear in all its splendor,

more brilliant than a thousand suns!  Jesus wants to definitively appear as

a new man:  he wants to be converted with the converts!  But, you will say

to me, Jesus is the Savior, and he has no need for conversion.  This is

absolutely true...  Nevertheless, if Jesus cannot make himself close to us

through a conversion of the heart, he can offer us the example of conversion

through a change of place: what his soul and his spirit cannot accomplish,

his body does!

 

" From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, «Repent, for the kingdom of

heaven is at hand.» "

 

The habit does not make the monk, it is said.  This means that if our

conversion is purely exterior, it is useless.  What counts is the conversion

of the heart.  Why do we go to Sunday Mass?  To see our friends, or even

just the priest?  Or to give glory to God?  Why do we have our children

baptized?  To do like everyone else does?  Or to give faithful servants to

the Church and to God?  Why do we get married?  For human love?  Or for love

of God?  Let us not be afraid to ask ourselves questions like these, for as

Jesus says: "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

 

" As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is

called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they

were fishermen. And he said to them, «Follow me, and I will make you fishers

of men.» Immediately they left their nets and followed him. "

 

Jesus, having moved to Capernaum, lives near the shore of the Sea of

Galilee, also called the Lake of Tiberias.  It is on the shore of this lake

that he would meet Simon and his brother Andrew.  Indeed, all three already

know each other: they had spoken some time earlier, when Simon, and

especially Andrew, were disciples of John the Baptist (cf. Jn. 1:35).  Jesus

even said to Simon: "You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called

Cephas." (Jn.1:42)  And from that day, Simon-Peter and Andrew, as well as

other disciples, followed Jesus...

 

Simon-Peter and Andrew are quick to follow Jesus.  Their bodies follow the

Master, but, in truth, their spirit is still far from following the teaching

of the Savior of men.  A miracle, doubtless that of the first miraculous

catch of fish, recorded by Saint Luke (5:4), and which occurs at about this

time, will be the occasion for the radical, deep conversion of the

disciples: "Immediately they left their nets and followed him."

 

This is surely one of the great miracles of the grace of God: to make man

capable of leaving all in order to follow the Lord!  But why did the

disciples Simon-Peter and Andrew return to their first occupation, after

having followed Christ for some time?  Would it not have been Jesus himself

who sent them to fish?  It is as if the holy women, on the day of the

Resurrection, had already transmitted to the disciples the words of the

Angel: "Go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead,

and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him." (Mt.

28:7)

 

Like Simon-Peter and Andrew, let us await the return of the Lord, not in

idleness, but rather as we attend to our daily occupations, such as fishing,

for example...  For it is these simple daily actions that, when done for the

Lord, will make each of us "fishers of men"!  May the Most Blessed Virgin

Mary, who always followed her divine Son, help us with her almighty prayer!


Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen