USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
Good News Reflection: How lovely are smelly feet and fish!
My feet are beautiful! If you were to see them, you might not think so, and if you were to look very-very close after I’ve been walking around in the Florida heat in my sneakers, your nose would definitely think not think so! But today’s first reading says, “How lovely are the feet of those who bring good news!”
This is the theme scripture for Good News Ministries. When my husband Ralph and I were founding this ministry in 1995, the Enemy thought my feet were getting too beautiful, so walking down the stairs became a real challenge. I sprained my ankle. After that healed, I walked into a corner of the wall and broke two toes. Sheesh!
Did you know that the Armor of God includes protection for our feet? Ephesians 6:15 says that our feet are covered by the sandals of the Gospel of peace. It doesn’t seem logical that sandals would do much protecting. I prefer Army boots. But neither does preaching the “Gospel of peace” seem to offer much protection. In fact, sharing our Christian faith seems to automatically paint a bulls-eye target onto our shirts.
The Enemy can’t stand looking at our beautiful feet, and if its efforts fail to deter us from spreading the Good News, it closes its eyes in horror. When I kept walking forward in the plan to build Good News Ministries, my feet stopped getting hurt.
Later came other temptations to quit. Instead of broken toes, I suffered a broken heart. From more than one person. And for many years, in some cases. I’ve clearly heard the Enemy’s advice: “If you quit doing that ministry, everything will be alright again.” But I absolutely refuse to quit — for your sake.
The biggest attacks have occurred during very important events in my ministry, so now I ask for prayer coverage from a team of Prayer Warriors — and I dig my heels in deeper with stronger determination to do what I am called to do.
I do not confide this to you for the sake of getting sympathy. Rather, it is to embolden you to dig in your heels, too. If you’re tripping over obstacles in your ministry, or if you’re stubbing your toes on your journey toward heaven, keep going. Don’t stop. Your feet will heal and you will become more closely united to Christ.
When Jesus gathered his team and built up his community of disciples in today’s Gospel reading, he gave them the vocation of “fishers of men, women and children”. He continues to give all of his disciples (you’re one of them, with me!) this same calling. And just like fishing for fish, the job can get quite smelly. Fish stink. The more dead they are, the worse they stink. So, too, the people who are spiritually dead. Jesus never said he’d make the fishing pier smell like a rose garden.
Isn’t it interesting that we don’t mind the smell when a fish gets hooked and we’re reeling in the catch. The stink is not the calling. The stink is only a smell. And how beautiful your feet have become!
The Good News must go out! This is my calling and yours. It’s the mission of all Christians. Your prayer support helps, but during our annual end-of-year fundraiser, if at all possible, please thank God for Good News Ministries by making a sacrifice for the sake of others who need the Good News. Everything at Good News Ministries is made available free, but we can only continue because of those who champion the Good News with free will donations. (gnm.org/donate.)
Open my ears, Lord, and prepare my heart to be docile to the loving call You send me every day. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica