For a full copy of the Newsletter for the Third Sunday in Ordinary time please click on the link; Ordinary Time 3rd Week 210118
We have a fishing story this weekend. Jesus began his ministry by calling simple fishermen to be his most trusted friends. Although the Twelve were hardly scholars or men wise in the ways of the world, Jesus saw beyond their gruff simplicity to call forth faith, sincerity and integrity from them.
Simon, Andrew, James and John were probably among the 200 or so fishermen who set out each day on the Sea of Galilee with heavy nets to catch the fish that would feed their families. It was unrelenting hard work. They had every reason to believe that this would always be their way of life. Their lives had a very particular rhythm and they probably intended go on living to that rhythm until they were too old or sick to work.
Then Jesus enters the story and simply says: “follow me”. You notice that there is no stirring sermon, no miracle, no voice coming from the heavens saying “listen to him!” If something like that happened then at least we would have some explanation of why these four would suddenly leave everything and accept the invitation to follow. Considering that throughout the gospel the disciples were constantly portrayed as having little faith and not understanding the mission of Jesus, how is it that they had such insight at this moment to accept the invitation? What did they know or sense on that seashore?
The natural focus is on the disciples and what they gave up and I wonder if we could do the same? Perhaps, however, there is another way of approaching this story? It is very easy to overlook the other miracle which is about the power of God. Jesus walked right up to a group of fishermen and worked a miracle, creating faith where there was no faith; creating disciples where there were none just moments before.
When I think about the disciples and whether or not I could make the same choices subconsciously I am in control of the process. I am the one who is shaping my life, determining the path, deciding in practical terms, just how much cost there will be in my discipleship. In our world of technology and marvellous gadgets, it is easy to fall into the trap that we are making the future what we want it to be.
Along the way we risk losing the full sense of the power of God. We forget that God can, at any time, recruit people who have made a terrible mess out of their lives. There is no use by date for God to interrupt people who have made dreadful choices; invade the most hapless lives and fill them with light. Why do we so easily dismiss the notion that God can sneak up on people who are one moment simply thinking about lunch and turn their world upside down?
So, before we think that discipleship is all about our choices, let the first disciples be an example and a warning! Whether we are ready or not, God acts!
Fr Peter Brannelly