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Lured In

June 26, 2022

Lured In

One of my favorite fishing memories is from back in the 80’s when a friend and I fished Uncle Joe’s pond. I had recently purchased the Mepps Basser Killer Kit at the Nichols Department Store in Harrisonburg and I was anxious to try them out! There were six different lures in that pack and I quickly grew quite fond of the Black Fury. The Black Fury lure had the correct action with my style and skill level to catch fish. I am not sure if it was the speed and sound of the spoon cranked through the warm water or the hairy tail following behind that caught the fish’s attention, but it was golden for me. I tend to lose focus if there is not a lot of top water action and that crank bait kept me in the moment! 

 

I had never fished there before and Uncle Joe usually seemed a bit stingy but on that day he welcomed us two to fish. The pond was situated in the corner of his pasture near his house where Uncle Joe and Aunt Arvetta could keep an eye on things and on us two young bucks. It was about 5pm and the day was slipping into the evening. We caught so many fish that we bucks in our early twenties were tired, and the sun was ready to set for the day so we called it quits. A couple weeks later during the Dog Days of August, I drove by that pond and many of the bass were floating dead on the surface. I think there was not enough oxygen for them during that high heat season or fertilizer from the pasture seeped into the pond. It was a disappointing sight indeed. There would be no more opportunities for fishing in that pond anytime soon!
Well, I was not born with a fishing rod in my, it took instruction and practice and the right bait. There are many, many ways to catch fish and everybody has a different method. Shamefully I am very much out of practice now and there are some fish that I still would struggle to catch. Maybe I just don’t have the right motions, bait or patience. Well, then of course these days I don’t practice that skill as there seems to be no available time or the recliner and I have become too attached.
The Gospel writers speak to us about becoming fishers of men. Well, that too requires some practice, instruction and the right bait. Our Lord tells the disciples this very thing in the Gospel of Mark: And Jesus said to them, “Come after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” [Mk. 1:17] We look to one of our great saints of North America for instruction: St. Tikhon of Moscow states: “The spread of Christ’s faith ought to be near and precious to the heart of every Christian.” And he then asks: “But who is to work for the spread of the Orthodox Faith for the increase of the Orthodox Church? Pastors and missionaries, you answer. You are right; but are they to be alone? “He is calling you!!
The Lord will teach you and you can find your own method but it is very important that you do try, don’t miss the opportunity!! Jesus instructs us that the two greatest commandments are to love God with everything we have and then to love our neighbor as thyself. (Matthew 22:34-40) That is how we fish for men. God has to be priority number one. You see this in the amount of time you pray, the time you spend in church and then in your bank account. Are you stingy? Are you supporting your church and the homeless? It is about taking time for our neighbor even though we are so busy chasing our tail around in circles. And by all means, being the best salesman for God by our actions. 
You know that black fury fishing lure I had that was so successful in catching fish because fish were attracted to it. People are attracted to love! Love Thy God! Love thy neighbor! I will end with this prayer from St. Tikhon of Zadonsk: “My poor soul! Sigh, pray and strive to take upon you the blessed yoke of Christ, and you will live on earth in a heavenly manner. Lord, grant that I may carry the light and goodly yoke, and I shall be always at rest, peaceful, glad and joyous; and I shall taste on earth of crumbs which fall from the celestial feast, like a dog that feeds upon the crumbs which fall from the master's table.” (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk)
Fr. Gabriel Weller 6-26-2022

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