He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
Jesus called the first Apostles to imitate Him and to call others to follow Him as well. We usually associate this passage with priestly vocations. Priests are called to follow Jesus closely and to conform their lives to Jesus as priest, prophet, and king in a radical way. But this vocation to call others to Christ is not unique to priesthood; it is the evangelical vocation of all baptized Christians.
We are called to spread the Gospel in all that we do—to imitate Christ so closely that others may see Him acting in us and through us. Jesus speaks through our words and actions. We, the members of His Body, the Church, are called to carry out His mission here on earth. We are all called to be ‘fishers of men.’ Each of us, in our own vocation, is to imitate Christ and call others to holiness. If we are married, we are to proclaim the Gospel through our marriages. If we are in vowed Religious Life, we are to proclaim the Gospel by how we live out our vows. If we are still discerning our vocation, then we are called to give witness to Jesus even as we explore our own calling.
For me, as a priest, my special calling is to preach, teach, and celebrate the Sacraments in such a way as to give glory to God and bring His Grace to His People. I listen to Jesus in the Sacred Scriptures, adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, and serve Him in you, the people He has placed in my life as His beloved children. But the priest is only one person; our parishes are made up of many more disciples and witnesses to Christ Jesus, each with our own particular vocation. You are uniquely important to Jesus’ mission in the world—that is why God made you who you are and where you are!
How is Jesus calling you to be a ‘fisher of men?’ Are you following Him in such a way as to draw others to Him? If not, what is missing? What graces would you need to make your life truly evangelical—to make your words and actions proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all things? Whatever you need, ask Jesus for it. He wants to make you an apostle, a prophet, a herald of His Good News. This is the witness we are all called to give to the world in His Name. The people dwelling in darkness need to see His great light in you! May God grant us the courage and strength to follow Him boldly and to proclaim Him to our desperately needy world.