Isaiah 8: 23-9:3
First Corinthians 1:10-13, 17
In last Sunday’s Gospel, we hear John the Baptist declaring to his follower’s that Jesus is the promised Messiah; not only that, Jesus is the Son of God, who has come to free from the power of sin. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus now beginning his mission; but one would expect that he would go straight to Jerusalem! There he would find men who knew the Hebrew Scriptures backwards and forwards. One would think Jesus would be seeking the most powerful and influential men of his time. But no, he is traveling along the roads of Galilee, walking the streets of Capernaum; it is to the provincials, the local yokels that he is proclaiming the Good News that the kingdom of heaven is at hand! It is to the poor and down trodden, the farmers and craftsmen, to the ordinary people who need to hear this Good News; that Jesus goes to.
So in Matthew’s Gospel we see Jesus walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee; he comes across Simon Peter and Andrew. And out of the blue, he asks them to come and follow him; he had special work for them. Now a normal person would have looked at Jesus and replied: “Yeah, right!” and would have gone on their work. However, Peter and Andrew dropped their nets and followed Jesus.
The term “dropping their nets,” I heard used yesterday at a talk I attended at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center down in Braintree. The presenter was Sherry Weddell, who with a Dominican friar lead workshops that helped people discern their charisms. An outgrowth of that work was a book entitled “Forming Intentional Disciples.” She defines an intentional disciple as someone who makes a conscious decision to follow Jesus; in other words, he or she “drops their nets,” Now, from the moment we were baptized, we became a part of the Body of Christ, we became disciples, but the majority of us, I am sure, were way too young to make a intentional commitment to the faith.
Now, however, we are being called, we are being called every day, every moment to follow Jesus, to enter into an intimate relationship with our God. We are called daily to live the commandments Jesus gave us: “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all you mind,” and you shall love your neighbor as yourself;” with all the challenges, and the joys that we will experience.
There is a community out there, a state out there, a nation out there, who needs to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are those who need to see people, by word and deeds striving to live the Good News. So we need to ask ourselves, if Jesus was to tap us on the shoulder, will we drop our nets?