The WORD in Other Words by Fr Melchor Bernal SVD (Philippines)
Monday Week 19 Ordinary Time, Dt 10:12-22, Mt 17:22-27
Every now and then I see a sign posted on doors which reads “Gone Fishing.” The sign can mean the occupant of the room really went fishing or went somewhere else. The message is “I‘m not available.”
The disciples, at the behest of Jesus, went fishing. They were fishermen so it was not a strange thing for Jesus to ask them to fish. This “fishing expedition” was not fishy as what we often read or hear in the news about legal skirmishes using the phrase “fishing expedition” in search for some evidence. Rather it was one of the many miracles of Jesus. It was prompted by a question whether Jesus, as a male adult Jew, was paying his temple tax. Jesus‘ response was a simple instruction to get a coin from the mouth of the first fish they would catch. It‘s almost mind blowing to imagine getting a coin from the mouth of a fish.
This gospel episode illumines our participation in our worship, literally and metaphorically. Jesus‘ miracle rode on the routine skills of his disciples. Jesus also wants us to be aware that he can do miracles through our acquired skills as we go on with our worship. Like the skills of Jesus‘ fishermen, our skills are God‘s epiphanic signs or manifestation of God‘s love and compassion that maintain the dynamism and effectiveness of the worshipping community. After all, aren‘t we all the temples of the Spirit, and we are all invited to employ our talents to show the miraculous presence of Jesus. We will experience miracles continuously if we walk on earth worshipping with love, compassion, and mercy.