THURSDAY: Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Stewardship and Discipleship
The Gospel of the day is a beautiful depiction of the Church working in close collaboration with Christ. Regardless of how gifted and successful we are at our respective professions there comes a time when we feel uneventful and exhaustion will dampen our zeal. The Church in its human form is no exception. However, with Christ at the helm of his Bark, his coworkers will never toil in vain providing they follow his basic instructions as his Father recommended at his’ baptism (Matt.3:17) and his Transfiguration “Listen to him (Matt.17:5).”
Jesus Christ is the source and fountain of the Good News. He commissioned his disciples, instructed them, and trained them to be the type of fishers of men he wanted them to be (Matt.28:19, Jn.20:21). His presence in the boat prefigured the risen Christ standing among the seven lamp-stands admonishing and strengthening his disciples in the midst of the early Christian persecution encouraging them to keep casting their nets without the fear of death (Rev.1:13-20).
Water in scripture is a symbol of chaos, life, and death. From the beginning, God reigned over chaos, brought order and life into it –recalling the events of the first creation and the flood (Gen.1:1-2; 7:17-24). The first Moses he drew out of the water to lead Israel out of slavery into the Promised Land (Is.63:11) Christ’s mere presence standing on the water is reminiscent of his mission to build a new creation with the collaboration of his disciples (Is.43:19).
The boat is a symbol of the Church; the net is a symbol of the Gospel; the lake, a symbol of the world and of baptism and the fish, the disciples. Like the first community of disciple and apostles, Christ commissioned the Church to draw the whole world to God by means of the Word and Sacraments (Matt.28:19). However, the task to evangelize the world does not uniquely belong only to the apostles. Just as Peter and the others signaled for help from other anglers, the Church today must make full use of the priesthood, the prophetic and kingly vocation of the laity.
The stewardship of the laity is clearly designate at the anointing with Holy Chrism: “Just as Christ was anointed priest, prophet and king, so too are you anointed.” The imposing clericalism, which exists today, is stifling the stewardship of the laity by reducing the role of the laity to that of second-class citizens in the kingdom. Yet the bureaucracy expects them to give all their time, talent and treasure while the clergy becomes increasingly complacent and self-destructive. Jesus challenges us today – go back and pay out our nets into the deep. Do not surrender without a struggle.
Just as Peter and companions were about to settle into complacency Jesus asked them to pay their nests into the lake. Even if they complained about being tired and their previous efforts were uneventful, Jesus insisted. They obeyed and hauled in a huge catch that warranted the aid of other anglers. The task of evangelizing the world is properly the task of every baptized Christian, for all of us together form the Mystical Body of Christ in the world. All of us are members of that community of disciples and prophets with Christ and in Christ. The Church is in turmoil. Christians unite! Wake up from our slumber and let us put all hands on deck to rejuvenate it with the help of the Holy Spirit.
O God, grant us the grace to fan into a flame the gift of the Holy Spirit and that it may breathe new life into your Church.