Abandoning Our Nets

Week of January 21, 2018

There is a tradition in basketball when a team wins the state championship on all levels, in a very ceremoniously way they cut the loops of the basketball net to put on the trophy in order to remember the moment.  This happens in college basketball at conference championships, and for the NCAA Tournament for national championships.  A ladder is brought out and different players and the head coach cut the net.  It is a symbol of the champions.  Today in the Gospel the net that was abandoned was a sign of a lifestyle.  The apostles were fishermen, their nets were their livelihood.  They are willing to abandon all of it at the invitation of Jesus.

There are lots of nets and webs in our lives.  Nets or webs are used for collecting things.  Fishermen use them to collect fish for food.  They then separate the things that don’t matter from the fish that do.  Caught in the nets are lots of things.  In modern day society, safety technology casts a wide net and searches for criminals, searches for drug trafficking and human trafficking.  Sometimes a web is set to catch the perpetrator.  Nets are used for collecting a lot of things.  What are our nets collecting?

Jesus is inviting us to abandon our nets.  He is inviting us to let go of our collecting, whether it is collecting of things or information, He is inviting us to let go.  In His journey He will be the source of the things we need.  He will be the way that leads us to the information that will change our lives.  It is found in Him and Him alone.

Many of us are collectors by nature.  Growing up my dad collected beer cans and my mom collected salt and pepper shakers.  Each had places to display them and remember the memories of the where they were purchased and the how they were obtained.  I am a product of their environment and have saved score cards from great golf courses I have played, baseball cards from my childhood and I frame tickets from once in a lifetime sporting events that I have attended.  All are trappings.  To abandon my nets I must lose the collections, but not just the collections, but rather the focus on them.  Jesus wants our attention.  He wants our undivided focus.  He wants to be the source and summit of our lives.

At the Vatican Council the Eucharist was called the source and summit of all we do and all we are to become.  We are a Eucharistic people.  Today we must ask ourselves, what are we doing with our collections?  Do they hold us back?  Do we need to protect them?  Jesus wants us to do just one simple thing, follow.  But this following must be total and complete.  This following must be with abandon.  Are we ready to abandon our nets?

Reverend John J. Ouper