Many of you are fishing enthusiasts, or perhaps have close family that takes a strong interest in this sport. States and provinces regulate fishing seasons within their own boundaries. For some species, the fishing season is open all year long and for others, there is only a brief time. It is amazing, for me originating from India, to observe the joy that some people have from fishing even during the winter months on ice! The season for sturgeon spearing in the upper Midwest can last just a couple of days depending on where the spearing takes place and when the limit imposed by regulation is reached.
According to data collected by the US Census Bureau in 2011, over 33 million Americans go fishing. In that year, they spent nearly $42 billion on fishing activities, including trips, equipment and licenses. Many people enjoy fishing ….and a segment of this population relish this activity as an opportunity for solitude in nature thereby thanking God for His beauty which surrounds us.
Peter’s fishing trip in this weekend’s Gospel is not quite as involved as some trips that modern day fishermen might take. Since he was a fisherman by trade, he likely walked out of his house, grabbed a few of his buddies, and went out in the boat for the night hoping to make a good catch. While there was always preparation to be done (mending the nets, repairing the boat etc.), from the Gospel story it seems that Peter’s decision to go fishing was pretty spontaneous. It was near dawn when Jesus showed up, and they caught a tremendous amount of fish.
Any avid fisherman is always ready to go out and fish! Once you’re out there, it could be just the right moment to pull in a lot of fish. Like a fisherman, we never quite know when the moment may come to “catch” someone for Christ. As Christians, we always have to be prepared to tell the story of who Jesus is for us, not in a formal or overly theological way, but by living our lives as kind and loving people. The witness that we give by our example is the only kind of net we need for inspiring others to God. Be aware of this in your manner that you live your life….because the Lord needs YOU for His fishing enthusiast.