Sliding back (Gone Fishing) by Fr Jerry Orbos SVD

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Spiritual Reflection on the Gospel by Fr Jerry Orbos in Philippine Daily Inquirer Moments

Question: What did the fish say when it was cut into half?

Answer: “I’m tuna!” (two na!)

Question: What did the fish say when it was about to die?

Answer: “I’m daing!” (dying!)

Question: What did the fish say when it was hit by a spear?

Answer: “I’m  hito!” (hit o!)

In the Gospel, John 21, 1-14, we hear how the disciples returned to what they did best before they met Jesus — fishing. Jesus appeared to them as the Risen Lord to remind them not to go back to their old ways. Rather, they were to continue their mission for Him, move on from being fishermen, to become fishers of men for God’s kingdom.

Many of us experience “backsliding” in spite of graces, blessings, healing and forgiveness that we have received from the Lord. Let us stay on the road of new life and conversion. Sure, there will be falls, but we must keep moving on, and not turn our backs on the Lord again.

Many did not recognize Jesus after His resurrection. It took time and some signs and reminders before the disciples realized that it was the Lord. Like the disciples, we too need the grace of God to really recognize Him again and again. The Lord will continue to reveal Himself to us. Let us be open and be receptive of His love and presence.

May we recognize the Lord in people around us. All too often we are so engrossed with ourselves that we forget that there are people around us who have their own struggles, hurts, feelings, hopes, and dreams.

Hello! You and I are not the center of the universe. The world does not revolve around you and me. You and I are not indispensable.

May we recognize the Lord especially in the last, the least, and the lost around us. Bottom line: Whatever we did to the least of our brothers and sisters, we did it unto Him.

Hearing the confessions of drug dependents last Holy Week, I can’t help but feel sad at the damage drugs can do to persons, families, communities, and to society, and the effect it has even to the coming generations. It is the devil’s modern-day tool to destroy lives and souls. Those who spread or push drugs make a lot of money, but they have a lot to answer for to society and to God Himself for their greed and misdeeds.

May we recognize the Risen Lord in the events happening around us. May the power, light and freedom of the Risen Lord be concretized in our May 13 elections. Let us choose leaders who will promote the Gospel values of truth, service and sacrifice, leaders who will help make the kingdom of God happen. Going back to our opening fish story — may we elect leaders who will not divide us, kill us, or hit us.

By the way, May 13, election day, is also the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Coincidence? We ask our Blessed Mother to bless our Motherland with peaceful, clean, honest elections. As the disciples had a good catch of fish in today’s Gospel, may we have a good catch of good leaders in our land. We continue to pray. We continue to work. We continue to hope for a better Philippines.

The other day, I received this text message from a sick octogenarian brother priest: “Last night, I didn’t think I’d see this morning, but I was ready, having served Him.” I texted him back: “You have served Him much. Now, be still, and just trust Him more.” At any point of our lives, let us all learn not to overthink but to trust God instead.

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help us to live lives not just fishing for money, or fishing for compliments, but fishing for Your kingdom. Amen.

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