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“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4.19

On my morning stroll around Stornoway, I passed the statue of a woman with a basket of fish and it made me think about the women among whom Jesus lived by the Sea of Galilee. Fishing was the major local industry and, as a carpenter, Jesus may well have been involved in boat-building and maintenance. We know that four of the disciples were professional fishermen. In many such communities women would have been involved in gutting and salting the catch, preparing it for market as well as for their own families.

The experience of our own "herring girls" confirms that this was hard work, though it had its rewards: wages, camaraderie and, in some cases, the opportunity to travel. Were these the women who travelled with Jesus, "caring for his needs" (Mark 15.41)? They would have had the experience, resilience and resourcefulness! And, being in the fishing business, Jesus' words about "fishing for people" would have resonated with them too. The summons to abandon lesser activities in order to devote our lives to what really matters extends to us all. Shall we summon the energy to respond as these first disciples did, both the men and the women?



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