Vocation Meditation -
January 22, 2012
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
It is noteworthy to say that Jesus’ way of choosing His circle of friends was very interesting and unique. He knew that selecting and calling them would literally mean He is laying the foundation of His kingdom. It is of great interest to get to know the men who would be called Jesus’ first followers.
- What they were. They were simple villagers, not coming from prestigious learning institutions nor groups. They were not taken from religious aristocracy, not learned nor rich. They were fishermen, ordinary people from the working class. Their ordinariness qualifies them for a task bigger than them. Many great men would prefer to choose famous, influential and sensible people. Jesus did not follow the world’s standard. With these twelve ordinary men hinged the future of God’s kingdom on earth. We can never think enough of what Jesus can make out of simple, ordinary men and women like many of us.
- What they were doing. They were doing their day’s work. After catching their fish, Jesus saw them mending their nets. They were doing what was their daily task, never missing a beat. And Jesus came into their life. The call of God can come to any of us, not only in the sacred places and secret places but in the middle of our day’s work. People like us, have a beautiful future—where we can embrace our task responsibly.
- How Jesus called them. He said: “Follow Me.” The center of the call was Him. He it is they will follow, not for what they heard about Him but for what He is. Their call was personal as ours is also.
- Jesus offered them a task. He called them to service where they could invest their life positively—not to a life of ease and earthly honor. This task was bigger than themselves. Jesus loved them as His own to the very end and, in response, they would have to spend their all for Him and others. Their task as ‘fishers of men’ proclaiming Jesus’ message would bring the greatest impact to the world, the world God loves so much! Can we not see ourselves with His special task, as well?
“They were fishermen.”
What was I doing when I heard the call of God to follow Him?
You are the God of surprises. I never suspected that I would follow You, in the way You planned my life to unfold. You came to my life in its ordinariness, in its simplicity and in the moment I was unprepared to let go. Yet, Your call was persistent, full of love and continually inviting me to trust You and believe in Your love completely. I entrust to You my life. I will follow Your leading each day. Do with me as You will that I may be like You, giving life to others, too. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.