(Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Sunday, January 22, 2017.
No one can carry out the work of man’s liberation but man himself; for that reason, God became man, and continues to seek other men to join him in carrying out the work of man’s liberation.
God needs “fishers of men” (Matthew 4: 19) for there is nothing in the universe of greater value than men. So great is their value, God tells them “the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
Who are the fishers of men?
They are those who join God in the work of bringing about liberation to all. Therefore, a fisher of men must see men as God sees them, namely:
I. A fisher of men acknowledges the supremacy of a human being over everything else in the universe, for only a human being is the image of God.
II. A fisher of men fully understands the need to rescue men whenever they lose such supremacy. A fisher of men is the “great light” which shines “on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death” (Matthew 4:16).
How do men lose their human dignity?
Men lose their human dignity whenever they destroy one another and whenever they treat each other as if they were unequal. In other words, the loss of human dignity is the manifestation of men’s failure to live as humans.
The loss of human dignity affects both the perpetrators and their victims. The perpetrators are affected because they fail to treat people in accordance with their human dignity, and the victims, because they are forcefully deprived of it.
How do men restore their human dignity?
Men restore their dignity by ensuring that “there be no divisions among [them], but that [they] be united in the same mind and in the same purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
Fishers of men have the task of ensuring that people do live as equals and in unity so the work of God “might not be emptied of its meaning” (1 Corinthians 1:17). In other words, we abide by the meaning of God’s work whenever we restore our human dignity.
Fishers of men not only work with God or for God, but essentially, work in God, and are part of God. They are the light that shines upon “those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death.” They go about the world “proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people” (Matthew 4:23), especially the illnesses afflicting societal life.
A fisher of men smashes “the yoke that burdened [the people], the pole on their shoulder and the rod of their taskmaster” (Isaiah 9:3).
God needs fishers of men to carry out the work of man’s liberation.
(By Jesús A. Diez Canseco)