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Mend those Nets

There you are, standing on a putting green. How far do you draw your club back before you hit the ball? If you draw it back too far, you will not be accurate. If you do not draw it far enough, you may dub the ball. After playing golf all day, Tiger Woods went to a green and, for two hours, practiced his follow-through. And that is why he is so good. He goes to the weakest part of his game and makes it the strongest.

My mother once asked me, “By the way, what do you priests do all day after you say Mass?” I told her that we sit a lot. So that Lent, I decided to work out every day instead of giving up chocolate. I just followed the instructor on the video. I did pushups, sit-ups, burpees, and power jumps. Then it was time for pull-ups. I placed my hand on the pull-up bar. Note that I have long and lanky arms. It seems about a quarter of a mile to the top of the bar. Needless to say, I could do no pull-ups. So, I stood on a chair every day and did a short pull-up. Each day I was able to lower myself down a bit more until I could do a full pull up. I took the weakest part of my workouts and made it strong.

When I entered a graduate program for biblical studies, I did not have access to German scholars. There are some great works in German, so, at 50 years old, I learned how to read German. I started with flashcards, took a Goethe-Institut course, and began reading children’s books. I addressed the weakest area of my studies and made it strong.

Jesus called fishermen to follow Him. They were good at what they did, and he wanted them to take their skill set and win over humans. Then He went to the next boat and called net menders. Why did Jesus need net menders? Because the weakest part of the net is at the bottom. That is where all the weight goes. That is where the fish land. At first, it looks like the fish wiggle in the net, but they are actually taking their sharp fins and cutting a hole at the bottom. What good is catching a pile of fish, and they all fall back into the water through the hole? So, net menders take the weakest part of the net and make it the strongest.

Jesus is looking for two sets of skills. One is to use our talent and gifts to win people over. The other is to go to the weakest part of our lives and make it the strongest. It could be getting enough sleep or time management, or perhaps we are insulted and do not heal fast so we can be on our A-game. The faith lesson is this: we need two skill sets. We need to use our gifts and make an impact on the world. The other is to turn the weakest part of our lives and make it strong.

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