Monday, May 2, 2011

The Fishermen

Today, I watched a little history. I got my popcorn ready and curled up on the sofa. And I turned the DVR to the Beautification of John Paul II. You thought I was going to talk about the royal wedding, didn’t you? Now, don’t get me wrong. I did watch the royal wedding. Kate’s dress was beautiful. And the music was fantastic. But, I believe the Blessed John Paul II upstaged the royal couple. Big time. That was a beautiful couple hours. And the longest Mass ever!

So, after watching all that holiness for so long, you will never guess what I put on next. Have you seen that show Deadliest Catch? You know, the show about the crab fishing in the Bering Sea? I know, it’s like the opposite of the Beautification of John Paul II. They are cursing, and smoking and not behaving in a Godly manner. But for some reason, I kept watching it. And I came to admire these men for their passion, determination, and willingness to throw their hopes and dreams into the sea. These men are gamblers. They are gritty. They are fishermen. I was fascinated.

While watching this show with JPII fresh on my mind, I realized something. Jesus didn’t go to the temple to call his disciples. He went to the boats. He went to the fishermen. Peter and John and many other disciples were fishermen. These were men who put all their hopes and dreams into the sea. They were gritty gamblers who didn’t spend the majority of their time in the temple but on their boats. If they were to hold true to the stereotype personified in the Deadliest Catch, they may not have spent any time in the temple. Perhaps, following the letter of the law was not at the top of their list. Yet, these are the men Jesus called. Can you imagine Peter as a man like Phil or John as a man like Sid? These men have caring hearts but I’m not going to put money on the chance I would see them at Mass on a Sunday or even in prayer on their boats. But these were the type of men Jesus called. Upon these men, Jesus built his Church- the Church that has endured the test of time for 2000 years.

In all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the beautification and canonization of great men and women who lived for Christ, I think we lose something. We hold these people up on a pedestal and by doing so, we think the holy life they walked is a little unobtainable for us. But that is not true. I think that Blessed John Paul II would gladly admit that he is just a fisherman who lived for Christ. We all have our own unique story- our own unique walk with the Lord. We all don’t get on that path to holiness from the same route. We don’t have to be Priests or Nuns or experts on church doctrine. The Lord calls us to the path of holiness regardless of where we are in life. Although most of us will never be beautified or canonized, it doesn’t mean that we weren’t holy enough. It doesn’t mean we won’t get to heaven. Living a holy life is as simple as going when he says, “Come, and follow me.” For the gritty men in those boats 2000 years ago, that meant leaving the boats behind and literally following Jesus. For Blessed John Paul II, that meant a life as a priest and then eventually, the Vicar of Christ. But for you and me, it can mean working with Pro-life or helping out at the Samaritan Inn, or getting involved with that ministry at church that you’ve been drawn to. Just think, if he can establish the Church through some gritty, not-so-pious fishermen, imagine what he can do with you and me.

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