Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermon / Homily on Matthew 4:12-22

The First Sunday after Danaha (EPIPHANY)

by Rev. Fr. Dr. Joy Pyngolil, Florida

Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 4: 12 22

The reading for this Sunday gives us the great commission: "I will make you fishers of men". Christ's mission was to attract people to the "Kingdom of Heaven." In fact he made some "fishermen fishers of men" and you and me are part of that mission with a commission to "be fishers of men." The ministry of the church is to become real fishers of men. I would like to focus on three things: (a) Jesus' conviction and the mode of his ministry, (b) the category of people he elected for the mission and (c) the implication of His call.

Let's see how did he start his mission. Jesus started his mission only after John the Baptist was imprisoned. He started it late to avoid confusion among people "who is who?" He was not competing but complimenting. Jesus himself participated in the preparatory mission of John the Baptist. Jesus was convinced of his calling, ( didn't you know that I had to be in my father's house, Lk.3:49). John the Baptist witnessed him and God the Father confirmed His calling "this is my Son." In spite of all His awareness of his earthly ministry, Jesus took a wise decision to begin His ministry. Foreseeing the danger in the city he went into the country side. He sought only simple hard working people, not wise men, professionals, priests or politicians or wealthy people.

John the Baptist, the fiery preacher with many supporters, who prepared the way for Messiah, was imprisoned by authorities. Hearing this news Jesus made a retreat- a retreat to a quite place to gather simple sincere trustworthy people. Fishermen, support each other and care for one another. They don't critique but help each other to accomplish their goal. He did not go to Jerusalem for political support or to the tetrarch to confront, but humbly went with his mission a remote place. It is indicative of the evils of political authority. Absolute power is blind and kills justice. [John the Baptist was imprisoned and later killed because he stood for justice in front of spineless worm who happened to be on the throne.]

Seeing two active brothers, He invited them for a mission. Jesus used their "vocational identity" to confer on them a new vocation- "fishers of men." I 'm sure these fishermen were not fishing for fun and make aquariums. They did bring their fish to the shore and used them for food. Fisher men gathers fish in nets, bring them from the wide sea, and use them for the benefit of others. Coming ashore the fish is dead. Christ's commission to us (Church) is to gather men (humans) from the seas of wickedness to ashore dead- dead to sins and this worldly attitudes and prepare them for better service of God's creation.

Implication for our personal Lives: (a) have conviction about our calling, yet be prudent, (a) gather only trainable, trustworthy and hard working people to embark on any mission; (c) our calling is to make progressive changes in the community.

May His Holy Spirit guide us to have the conviction of our calling.

See Also:

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the 1st Sunday after Denaha (Baptism of our Lord)

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