Attr. St. Jerome: For he must repent, who would keep close to eternal good, that is, to the kingdom of God. For he who would have the kernel, breaks the shell; the sweetness of the apple makes up for the bitterness of its root; the hope of gain makes the dangers of the sea pleasant; the hope of health takes away from the painfulness of medicine. They are able worthily to proclaim the preaching of Christ who have deserved to attain to the reward of forgiveness; and therefore after He has said, “Repent,” He subjoins, “and believe the Gospel.” For unless ye have believed, ye shall not understand.
The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): “Repent,” therefore, “and believe;” that is, renounce dead works; for of what use is believing without good works? The merit of good works does not, however, bring anyone to faith, but faith begins, that good works may follow.
Remigius of Auxerre (841-908): For by the net of holy preaching they drew fish, that is, men, from the depths of the sea, that is, of infidelity, to the light of faith. Wonderful indeed is this fishing! for fishes when they are caught, soon after die; when men are caught by the word of preaching, they rather are made alive.
The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): Now fishermen and unlettered men are sent to preach, that the faith of believers might be thought to lie in the power of God, not in eloquence or in learning.
Attr. St. Jerome: Further, we are mystically carried away to heaven, like Elijah, by this chariot, drawn by these fishers, as by four horses. On these four corner-stones the first Church is built; in these, as in the four Hebrew letters, yhwh, we acknowledge the name of the Lord, we who are commanded, after their example, to “hear” the voice of the Lord, and “to forget” the spider’s net, in the meshes of which we, like gnats, were all but fallen. Again, Simon, means obedient; Andrew, manly; James, supplanter; John, grace; by which four names, we are knit together into God’s host; by obedience, that we may listen; by manliness, that we do battle; by overthrowing, that we may persevere; by grace, that we may be preserved.