They Abandoned Their Nets and Followed Him
One of the joys I have as one of the parishes’ two deacons is to teach a monthly Baptism class for those parents and Godparents to be. One of the questions I ask them is this: what characteristics or better, what virtues do you want your child or Godchild to live out by the time they’re 15 years old? Parents and Godparents give some very profound answers to this question. Some tell me that they want their children to have compassion for others, empathy and love; they want them to be leaders who will help others to help those who can’t help themselves. Finally, they want them to be good Catholics, good Christian people. After all the answers are put up on a white board, I ask them how their children are going have all these great habits as part of their lives. The parents and Godparents have to live out these virtues if they want their children to do so.
In today’s Gospel, we see and hear Jesus doing two things: first he is proclaiming the “Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe.” Then we see Jesus near the Sea of Galilee as he watches Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets. Jesus calls them to follow him and he will make them “fishers of men.” They immediately “abandon” their nets and follow Jesus. No questions asked. Nothing about what this is going to pay, or where are they going to live. They trusted in this Jesus of Galilee with their lives. Jesus calls us to abandon our nets and follow him; to repent and believe. To trust.
I think we tend to look at this gospel in terms of what can we do to follow the Lord Jesus. What things do we have to change in order to truly be a follower of Christ. Perhaps the question needs to be different this year, especially as we are weeks away from our Lenten journeys. Perhaps the question needs to be ‘who does God want me to become?’ Let’s let God, who created us with our individual characteristics and joys and hopes, show us what we need to do in order to follow Him. He wants us to enthusiastically abandon our nets and follow and be his disciple and be joyful doing it.
We are called to abandon those things that keep us from being joy-filled, Christ-filled people. What are the things that drag us down like a net filled with dead fish and keep us from being dedicated Catholic Christians? Do we need to abandon our desire to know exactly where we’re going to be in 5 or 10 years? Is it our need to be better off than everyone else is or to have more things than the people next door?
I suggest this week we spend some time thinking about this. What is God calling me to be? At the same time, many of us here at St. Angela Merici were given a book by Matthew Kelly called Perfectly Yourself: Discovering God’s Dream for you. Take a look at that book and try to read pages 90 to 91. This may help.
God has a dream for you and me. Let’s listen to our God in scriptures and with Matthew Kelly’s book to slowly come up with some answers to these questions.
May God bless you always,