“Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody. Help! You know I need someone. Help!”
In 1965, those words introduced the Beatles hit song, “Help!” It was understood that the one being asked to offer assistance, was the listener, that is, You. Very early in our Lord’s ministry, Jesus realized that the scope of His Father’s plans would require more than He could do alone. He needed help. His first act was to call four fishermen.
Even today, some fishermen work by contract. The work is strenuous and dangerous. In good weather and in bad, working on the sea calls for a person to be ready to adapt to any situation.
Fishermen know how to cast their nets and wait patiently for a response. At times, fishermen cast their nets repeatedly until finally, they have success. They must also know how to shift their boats when the weather changes and not be afraid to set out on deep water. Fishermen work together, trusting in their tools and in each other. They possess some valiant qualities.
When Jesus commanded the first fishermen to follow Him, He meant for them to pattern their living and ministry after Him. The work Jesus is engaged in has a sense of urgency to it. This mission was something He could not do alone, but He could empower others to be fishers of people.
In the first reading, Jonah spoke to the people and they understood the urgency of their spiritual situation and responded to God in a way that opened them up to God’s grace. The call to be fishermen of the Lord is not just a New Testament invention.
Today, as we work to recreate a “Church Alive!” we too are called to be fishermen of the Lord. We are called to follow in His life-style. To cast our nets again and again and not to lose heart. We are called to shift gears according to the spiritual situation we face. The situation is urgent; souls hang in the balance. Jesus says to us today: “Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody. I need you!”