Updated: Apr 5, 2018
Simon and Andrew, James and John were working when Jesus called them. They immediately put down their nets and followed Jesus. Can you imagine? The disciples walked away from their previous way of life and toward another, in which Jesus and his way take precedence. They put aside anything that would stand between themselves and the life of discipleship. Jonah acted similarly—he perceived the Lord’s call and responded without question. He literally walked a different path, toward Nineveh. No doubt, Saint Paul’s own dramatic conversion was in his mind as he wrote to the community in Corinth. The path of discipleship is about holy perspective. Do not let anything stand between you and Christ.
Simon, Andrew, James, and John abandoned their nets and followed Jesus. The nets were their livelihood, the most important tools for their work as fishermen. For these first disciples, their nets represented all they knew life to be about, and all it could be. Yet they put the nets aside, risking an unknown future in order to “catch people” as Jesus promised. What do you need to leave behind? Most people will not be asked to give up their livelihood in order to answer Christ’s call. Yet we certainly must abandon everything that prevents us from living our lives authentically as followers of Jesus. Sometimes we must let go of the life we know in order to embrace a living, compelling, meaningful life of faith in Christ. Prayerfully examine your faith and life. Is there attachment to material possessions? Are there relationships or feelings that prevent you from living and growing in faith? Is there a negative habit that gets in the way? Let go of what stands between you and the Lord. Invite God’s healing presence, forgiveness, and mercy to transform the nets—all that holds you back—and risk answering Christ’s call to discipleship.
Jonah did not simply walk away from his previous way of life. He walked toward Nineveh. The disciples did not only abandon their nets. They walked toward Jesus and to a life of discipleship. G. K. Chesterson is quoted as saying, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been tried and found difficult.” Yet Christian living is also deeply meaningful. What would happen if you truly took the call to follow Jesus to heart? It isn’t only about turning away from things that are counter to the Christian way of life. As it was for Jonah, the disciples at the seashore, and Saint Paul, a true life of faith is also about walking toward God, about loving God and neighbor, about risking an unknown future filled with life and goodness, holiness and grace.
Today’s Readings: Jon 3:1–5, 10; Ps 25:4–5, 6–7, 8–9; 1 Cor 7:29–31; Mk 1:14–20
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