Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jesus on Illegal Fishing

The Butanding (Whale Shark), the "Leviathan" of Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines, getting extinct due to illegal fishing.

Read first John 21:20-25

The gospel reading contains the very last words of the last of the four gospels, gospel, the Gospel of John. The Risen Lord appears to two acknowledged leaders of the early Church, Peter and the Beloved Disciple. This unnamed disciple tells us that he wrote this gospel as his testimony and that "there are also many other things that Jesus did" but were longer recorded. What could these be?

We can think here of a beautiful saying of Jesus quoted by St. Paul but not recorded in any of the four gospels. In reminding the leaders Christian community about their charity toward the poor, St. Paul says: "We must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive' (Acts 20:35)." There's an anecdote though about a boy who boasts that his father has been living this teaching of Jesus even in his work, giving rather than receiving. Asked what his father's job is, the boy responds, "He's a professional boxer!" Joking aside, we witness until today many Christians living these words of wisdom.

The so-called Gospel of Thomas, written around 100-110 AD, although it is not part of our Sacred Scripture, could have preserved some earliest traditions of the teachings of Jesus not found in our four gospels. Here's an example, Jesus' teaching on wise fishing: "The human being is like a fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fishermen discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the larger fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!" If we were to have "good ears", there’ll be no more illegal fishing and our seas and rivers would be teeming with life.

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