Is 6:1-2,3-8; 1Cor 15:1-11(or 15:3-8,11); Luke 5:1-11
There was a story about the hen and the pig bragging each other about their contribution and commitment to humanity. The hen brags: “I supply thousands of eggs for the market everyday. Mine is the best.”
Not satisfied, the pig countered, “And who lays down his life so that people may eat bacon, lechon, barbecue, ham and sausages? Mine is total commitment!”
All readings of today especially the gospel, the message is one – Call and Commitment. In the gospel, the Lord approached a group of rugged and simple people and convinced them to follow Him. But before anything else, he taught them first, then made a miracle and asked them to follow Him. He impressed them first.
“They left everything: their work, their nets, their boats, their families and followed Him (v. 11). So it was really a radical and total commitment.
Sad to say, today, many have the idea that this call of Christ to become ‘fishers of men’ is addressed only to the apostles and their successors (the bishops together with the priests and religious). That’s not true. Every Christian is commissioned to a ministry of love and justice by virtue of his/her baptism. Even the PCP II, Part IV talks about Workers of Renewal which include lay faithful, the Religious and the clergy. In other words, everybody is called to be ‘fishers of men.’
It is stated very clearly in one of the documents of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) no. 31 that says, “The faithful who by baptism are incorporated into Christ’s Body and are placed in the people of God and in their own way share the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ and to the best of their ability carry on the mission of the whole Christian people in the church and in the world.
In addition to this, Vatican II’s Apostolicam Actuositatem no. 3 says, “Incorporated into Christ’s Body through Baptism and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation, the laity are assigned to the apostolate by the Lord Himself.”
It is even stated that where lay involvement is lacking, “the apostolate of the pastors will frequently be unable to obtain its full effect; Where lay responsibility is absent the church is incomplete,” (Apostolic am Actousitatem nos. 10, 21, PCP II).
So whether you are a teacher, a government official or employees, doctor, politician, nurse, executive and others, you share in the apostolate of preaching, teaching, healing and witnessing to Christ’s teaching.
The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II no 434) started it beautifully: “The laity’s field of evangelizing activity is the vast and complex world of education, politics, society and economics, as well as the world of culture, of the sciences and arts, of international life, of the mass media. In this vast arena of pastoral engagement the church needs the special gifts, individual and collective, of farmers and fishermen, workers, mass media practitioners, educators and lawyers, civil servants, of those in the medical and nursing services and professional in the various strata of the society – of all the lay faithful, rich and poor to fulfill the mission of communicating Christ.”
We the clergy and religious could not run for public office, become businessmen and you are the one. Election is again coming this May of 1998. Our political system during election campaign period is somewhat dirty where some of our politicians are using not only the 3 Gs before but now they are already using six Gs (Guns, Goons, Gold, Gains, Girls and Guys) to convince people. So at this very delicate situation you are challenged to bring the message of Christ into this arena.
What we need is our total commitment and as we know that commitment must be based on unselfishness and sacrifice. How can we fulfill our commitment? Two things: First, always keep your promises. For example, when you promise to visit a friend, make sure that you don’t forget it no matter what will happen. If you promise that you come to visit at three o’clock in the afternoon make sure that you come on time. Because when a person remembers your promise and he looks forward to it. When you don’t visit, you disappoint him. We have a saying: “Better later than never.” I don’t believe on this because whether you are late for 5 minutes or ten minutes or one hour or you never arrive, it’s the same you hurt the person.
Second, use symbols of commitment. Words are not enough. How can we show we love the person? Through symbols: by giving roses, by giving cards, by hugging, kissing or smiling. Marriage ring is a symbol that the two are going to live for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer until death do they part.
So let us reflect on this. Then, at the end, let us ponder on this: “Tell me what your commitments are and I will tell you the kind of life you lead, the kind of person you are.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C