Monday of the
First Week in Ordinary Time
Did you ever watch the reality TV show The Deadliest Catch? It’s the highest rated program on the Discovery Channel. The other night they were fishing for crab in the Berring Sea. Walls of water as high as frigid sky scarpers, slippery decks and gale force winds while the boat totters to and fro like a rubber ducky in a hurricane.
And it’s educational! Three things I’ve learned from that show about catching fish in the Berring Sea: It’s dangerous, you gotta go a long way from home to do it, and the pay is really, really good.
In the past ten years over five hundred fishermen have drowned in the Berring straights. That averages out to nearly one fisherman per week, while the injury rate for crews on most crab boats in the fleet is nearly 100% due to the severe weather conditions on a tottering platform of cranes with little tiny life rails......Now that’s dangerous!
But not as dangerous as being a fisher of men. Being called to cast out into the deep, to lay down your life, to love others as he loved us...unto death! Unto death, to love not those whom we have chosen, but the ones whom God has chosen to place in our care.
To get to the Berring Sea you need to fly to Nome, Alaska...the shortest route from Boston requires four changes of plane and takes twenty hours and twenty minutes. And then its four hours on a boat before you get to the fishing grounds!...Now that’s leaving home!
But not as far from home as fishers of men are called to travel. Not just the idea of leaving mother and father and family and not looking back. Not just the idea of setting out without a traveling bag or second shirt. But aspiring to the life of the Son of Man, who had no place to lay his head, obediently seeking only God’s direction, not my own.
The season is about three months before the ice sets in so they have to work rather intensively to catch Alaskan King crabs...24 hours a day for three months. But the pay for an unskilled helper averages $30,000....for three months work!...now that’s really good pay!
But not as good as the the recompense of the good and faithful servant who, upon his master’s return will receive a reward beyond his wildest imaginings. Not as good as an eternity of perfect joy before the face of the one who chose us, unworthy though we be, to be his priests, to preach his Gospel, to shepherd his people and to celebrate these holy and living sacrifices.
So, while you may be amazed by the adventures of the fishermen of the deadliest catch, be even more amazed at the Priesthood he bestows on those whom he has called to be Fishers of Men.
Monsignor James P. Moroney