Sunday, February 18, 2018

An Image to Reflect on to Start Lent

Many of you know that I am a huge fan of Bishop Robert Barron.  Well, he is posting a reflection each day during Lent on this site.  

While I love his commentary, it was actually this image that I found quite moving:


I have never seen this painting of our Savior before.  He looks like ... well .... He looks like he has been fasting in the desert for 40 days.

I don't know about you, but every time I hear this weekend's Gospel from Mark, I envision Jesus triumphantly beating temptation in the desert in all His glorious Holiness.   Which is a nice visual, of course, but I think it minimizes what He went through to prepare for His Ministry for us.

Rarely, do I picture Him as this image does ... as Someone who is also fully human and showing the signs of 40 days of fasting in harsh surroundings.

I hope you are as moved by this image as I am.

A Blessed and Holy Lent to all of you!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Men with Sole, Net Results

If you couldn't tell from my titles Victor-like puns, the past two weekends really got me curious about fisherman in Jesus' time.  

Here are some interesting thoughts I came across as I researched what life was really like for people like Andrew, James, John and Peter before the Lord called them to follow Him.

  • Contrary to what I have heard over and over again, fishing was not a "poor" profession during that time.  In fact, there are indications that the industry was successful - including the "business" that Peter likely ran.  
  • It is likely that these Apostles had others working for them, as boats often had multiple rowers and net casters.   (Perhaps that is one of the reasons why they did not hesitate to follow Jesus?)
  • The boats they used were around 25-30' long and about 7' wide, and made of wood.
  • Again, contrary to the image of "not intelligent fishermen", these gentlemen had to come up with clever ways to catch fish.  One of the more effective is assumed to be a method where two boats work together with a shared net, and encircle the fish by rowing in opposite directions.  
  • If you are like me, you envision these folks as dedicated, patient, and hard-working, and from all indications, that would be correct.  Fishermen would often go out at night, make numerous runs, and sometimes had to deal with little to no reward on a bad day.  In addition, they had to continuously mend, dry and washing their nets. 

All that being said, one thing really stuck with me this week.  In today's day in age, we often think about a singular fisherman ... casting his line out to sea and catching one fish at a time.  But Jesus called these fishermen ... who worked in teams ... to pull in large amounts of fish at a time.  

I don't know about you, but I am ecstatic if I feel that I inspired one person, let alone a group.  And yet, after reflecting on this passage, I can't help but feel our Lord wants much more - but is reminding us we cannot do it alone, and we must have patience and dedication.

God Bless you.