In a very old comic strip, every time things would get to be too much for the main characters you could bet on seeing the “Gone fishin” sign posted on a near by tree. It was a literary device used to bring a break to the previous acting and change the story line.

In a way, St. Luke does the same thing in Sunday’s Gospel. After the press of the crowds, Jesus convinces Simon to let him teach from the boat. Then he tells him to head out into deep water to fish. We’ve changed the subject from Jesus healing and preaching. Suddenly, we’ve “Gone fishin’.”, and while initially that’s what is literally happening, it doesn’t stay that way for long: “From now on you will be catching men.” It’s not just Simon and the sons of Zebedee that get led into this convenient little scenario.

Gospels are not just quaint stories. They are good news for us as well. Jesus gets into life with us, much like he got into Simon’s boat. He tells us to go out a little farther, that is, to stretch our faith a little more. And even when we want to give up (“we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing”) he tells us to cast into the deep. Trusting in him, we find that wondrous things happen as we witness to the meaning of Jesus in our lives.

In the end, the example of our faith is to lead others to Jesus. That’s where instead of fish, we’ll be catching men and women. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we hung a little “Gone fishin” sign somewhere where we would see it every day, as long as we remember that our faith is the net, and from now on we’re out there fishing to bring others to Christ.