16-2-7 Catching Men

Catching men is what Jesus commanded St. Peter to do. Some of us might seek to emulate.

Luke 5: 1 to 11[1] And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, [2] And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing [their] nets. [3] And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. [4] Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. [5] And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. [6] And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. [7] And they beckoned unto [their] partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. [8] When Simon Peter saw [it], he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. [9] For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: [10] And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt be catching men. [11] And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Catching Men

Catching men! That’s what St. Peter went on to do, converting others to Christianity. How does this compare to

Surah 4: 88 to 91: What is [the matter] with you [that you are] two groups concerning the hypocrites, while Allah has made them fall back [into error and disbelief] for what they earned. Do you wish to guide those whom Allah has sent astray? And he whom Allah sends astray – never will you find for him a way [of guidance]. They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper. Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people. And if Allah had willed, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them. You will find others who wish to obtain security from you and [to] obtain security from their people. Every time they are returned to [the influence of] disbelief, they fall back into it. So if they do not withdraw from you or offer you peace or restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you overtake them. And those – We have made for you against them a clear authorization.

They are not even trying to be catching men. And what is more they are offended when we speak to them about our religion.

Yet in the West nearly all of the followers of this religion do not do what the above text prescribes. These people are better than their book, while Christians always strive towards high ideals: Love Thy Neighbour, Turn the other cheek, ideals which are difficult to attain.

Surah 48: 29: Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves.

Jesus might have answered

Luke 4: 30 to 36: Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

So let us be humble but know that our religion is the one of high ideals and tolerant against others, the way to worship God which brings peace. However:

Luke 6: 37: Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

Just two final thoughts: the first one a linguistic one: catching men is just the most common English translation. The Greek word for man is Anthropos which means human being including women. So maybe catching people would have been a better translation than catching men. I have changed the phrase to the Greek grammatical form but I have left the word men, since it seems so engrained in English proverbs in particular in the form in Matt. Matt. 4: 19 and Mark 1: 17.

The second thought is a religious one: Read again Luke 5: 11! This is what Christianity demands of us also, while other religions try to impress us with their wealth! Of course Islam comes to mind here, but, I think, the worship of the bull – god of whom there is an image outside the Wall Str. stock exchange, with its commands to competition, envy and greed, prescribing a wasteful way of life, in which we waste resources just to ensure company earnings, this anti – scientific religion will have the worst effects on human life in the long run, and it is much more threatening than what we call terrorism today.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.