Meet the new boss
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Immediately they left their nets and followed him.Sarah Dylan Breuer of Episcopal Divinity School writes of this passage saying in part,
First, meet the new boss—not at all the same as the old boss. Jesus is lord of this new enterprise. Maybe even then, the fishers to whom Jesus called could tell that Jesus was not going to use his power and his followers' labor simply for his own benefit. Maybe they were figuring that whoever Jesus was, he couldn't be as bad as the toll collectors to whom they answered. Little did they know at that point that Jesus would be calling toll collectors too, but they were right about what kind of boss Jesus is: the kind who uses power to empower others, rather than to increase his own honor, status, and wealth. They're not just going to work; they're going to work with Jesus. The new enterprise brings them into relationship with him.The full text of her thoughts on this passage on online here: Third Sunday after the Epiphany.
Second, and maybe I'm off-target about this, but there's something about becoming "fishers of people" that sounds a lot less dehuman- izing than descrip- tions of the ancient fishing trade that I read.... Becoming a "fisher for people" is going to bring these Galilean fishers not only into relationship with Jesus, but into a whole new network of relationships with others. Their relationship with Herod Antipas and the powers of this world, with the hated toll collectors, with their neighbors, with their families, with Gentiles and Pharisees, with anyone who hears Jesus' call and, responding to it, becomes a sister or brother ...none of these will ever be the same.
In America, our culture exalts "being your own boss" and "being your own man," being independent. Even—or especially—those who seem to be closest to those goals often discover that they're illusory. The kings of this world answer to the kingmakers, the kingmakers to bosses of their own. Having Jesus as lord—as one's only Lord—frees us from the webs of ambition we make only to get caught in them ourselves. Working for and with Jesus, we can cast a different kind of net—one that frees and empowers rather than binds and dehumanizes. Answering Jesus' call, we start to hear the world's cries; we are drawn into relationship as we find what we need to serve as Jesus' co-laborers in the world. It's not easy work, but it's the work we were born to do. It's the vocation where we will become more fully human and understand better what the divine is up to among us.
Labels: Gospel reading