Roc Homily (c) – “Silence” and the Call of the Disciples…

silence-the-movie-poster     Last night, I viewed the movie, “Silence.” It touched me in many ways and led me to reflect on the Call of the Disciples in last Sunday’s gospel.  First, a bit of exegesis on the call.

Matthew 4:15f “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

Matthew used Isaiah 9:2 to situate Jesus ‘by the sea’, that is, beginning his ministry right by the symbol of ‘that which is apart from God’.  All these terms above are significant, though I will not deal with them all.

Not only that, but it is very curious that Matthew uses two Greek words for ‘net’.  For the first usage, he employed amphiblestron. For the second, diktua.  What’s the difference? Why the difference? Notice…

Matthew 4:18, 20     As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen… Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Amphiblestron – Psalm 141:8–10    But my eyes are turned toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; do not leave me defenseless. Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me, and from the snares of evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I alone escape.

Ecclesiastes 9:12     For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Habakkuk 1:15–17     The enemy brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his seine; so he rejoices and exults.  Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his seine; for by them his portion is lavish, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and destroying nations without mercy?

The first word connotes ‘the snares of wickedness’ and connects with sea to give a picture of Peter and Andrew as sinners. The second word just means net (!)  The disciples left the wrong nets!!! In other words, they continued following Jesus precisely as sinners who, like us, have a lot to learn!  We haven’t left the right nets either.

And I believe this is part of Endo’s insight into the Jesuits and Japanese in the film – we all act on our own behalf all the time.  It’s only our tendency to ‘self-ennoble’ ourselves, to see ourselves as heroes or victims that keeps us from clearer sight.

See the movie, by all means!  –roc,sj

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