Where is Your Pile of Fish?

BY CHRISTOPHER KERR | February 7, 2022
Sunday’s Readings

There’s no better way to catch the attention of someone who makes a living catching fish than, well, a big pile of fish. In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus asked his future disciples to drop their fishing nets in the water one more time. Even though they hadn’t caught anything all night, they followed his instructions. The result: a huge pile of fish! The abundance of fish was a sign of God’s power, love, and a foreshadowing of the success the disciples would have in inviting people to follow Jesus. That pile of fish, practically tearing their nets, changed the disciples’ lives forever as followers of Jesus and future spreaders of his Good Word. 

Where is Your Pile of Fish?

Reflecting on my own life, I can think of many examples when Jesus invited me to “lower my nets” one more time.

In college, at John Carroll University, I initially struggled to find truly meaningful ways to grow and develop as a person. I was going through the motions as a student but hadn’t quite found what I was passionate about. A friend invited me to join her on an intercultural immersion experience in Immokalee, Florida, a migrant farming community in the southwest part of the state. She spent hours convincing me that it would be a deeply impactful experience. I had participated in things like this in the past and was skeptical that the impact would be as profound as she claimed. Despite my skepticism, I dropped my net and headed on an eighteen-hour drive.  

In Immokalee, I had the opportunity to learn from the many people we encountered—social service providers, migrant families from Mexico and Central America, refugees from Haiti, and the passionate Humility of Mary Sisters who had dedicated years of ministry to that community. Through their willingness to share their experiences and knowledge with us, I was provided with  an “abundant” gift—a lifelong relationship of solidarity. To this day, I look back on my encounters in Immokalee as life-changing. They caused me to view the world differently, giving greater attention to the perspective of those marginalized by unjust structures and actions. Equally important, those encounters influenced my vocation, calling me to follow Jesus more closely in my roles as a professional, a father and spouse, and as a community member. 

To put it in biblical terms, in Immokalee I found a huge “pile of fish.” 

Where have you found your “pile of fish?” How did it change you?

3 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    The joy of Christ in my life is that he continually asks me to ‘lower the nets”. It is a good thing as it makes me realize the challenge of being His disciple. When I was teaching in Pompano Beach Florida, my weekend missionary work was to be part of the community in Immokalee. The priest that traveled with me was a brave man/priest right from Ireland who did not know the language or culture of the people, yet there was something wonderfully holy about his service to the people. He offered Mass with them, and the people prayed fervently.
    Frequently, in my life, Jesus asked me to ‘cast the nets’ when I was teaching at a University in Chicago. The response of the students to His touching their lives and asking them to cast their nets was arduous but faith filled. He asked me to ‘cast the nets’ for my sons who needed His guidance when their Father, my husband, passed away. To me, ‘casting the nets’ brings me the sense of union with Him. He never abandons us but challenged me to do His work. He challenges me at this time to ‘cast my nets’ so the next generation will know/love and serve Him. In some ways the hunger for God in their lives has never been more apparent, maybe it has to do with age and wisdom, but they want to know Him and serve Him. We all need to ‘cast our nets’ so His work will be known now and forever.

  2. Cathe
    Cathe says:

    Delighted Jesus invited me to throw my net in again! I’ve come to realize, when I accept an invitation from Jesus, it leads to a deeper, richer relationship!

  3. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Being called to evangelize unjust structures and actions is a privilege. Nice account. Thanks.


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