Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Met. Ephrem on the Amazing Catch

LinkThe Arabic original can be found here. It was given on September 25, 2011 in the Church of St. Barbara, Ras Masqa.

The Amazing Catch

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Beloved,according to the tradition of our Church, this Sunday which falls after the first Sunday after the Elevation of the Cross we begin reading the Gospel of Luke. This passage which we heard talks about the calling of the first disciples. This account is specific to the Evangelist Luke and differs to a certain degree from Matthew, Mark, and especially John.

The Lord Jesus begins his evangelism along the shore of the Lake of Tiberias, among the simple fishermen. The question that is posed is: Why, what is the Lord's wisdom in choosing these simple, illiterate people who were fishing? He came over to them and boarded Peter's boat and said to him, "Cast your net." Peter had gone the whole night without catching anything, then he cast his net into the lake and caught many fish, to the point that he was shocked and amazed! Those with him wondered who this man was, who with a single word was able to fill their nets with an abundance of fish. He called the other brothers, John and James the sons of Zebadee, in order to help them bring in these fish.

What is important in this event is the attitude of Peter, who was distinguished among the disciples by his zeal and love for the Lord Jesus, since he came and bowed before the Lord and said to him, "Distance yourself from me, Lord, since I am a sinful man." He felt his own weakness, his sinfulness, and confessed it before the Lord Jesus, before this divine power that had appeared in front of him. What was the Lord Jesus' response? He said to him, "Do not fear, Simon Peter, for from this day on you will be a fisher of men. You were a fisherman, but from today on you will be a fisher of men!"

What does this passage from the Gospel teach us, such that when we leave the church we have taken from it provisions for our life? We learn from Peter's attitude that one who is zealous and loves our Lord with all his heart and comes to church, this person confesses his weakness and sinfulness before the greatness of God. That is, he is a humble person. A humble person is one who confesses God's power and not his own power and at that point the Lord says to him, "From now on you will be a fisher of men!"

This is the commandment that the Lord Jesus gives us: if we actually love him then each one of us is a fisher of men. But how do we fish for them? Is it by killing them, in the way that we hunt birds? Naturally not... It is by siezing them for Christ, bringing them to Christ. In this way, if you love the Lord, especially you who come to church, then you will go and fish for those who do not come to church. This is one of the most difficult arts, since how can a person bring another to the Lord Jesus, especially in our difficult times? But this is the Lord's call to us to be humble and to love Him and the Church, and for every one of us to go and gain someone for Christ and for the Church. At that point he will have great favor and the Lord will bless him and his family. Amen.

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