“Come After Me”

We had a short gospel reflection this week in light of our upcoming silent retreat, but listening to the story in Mark about the calling of the disciples to be made “fishers of men”, we recognized some similarities to what the apostles must have felt being called to Christ and a similar feeling of leaving the business of our lives to carve out a few days for the Lord.
Mark 1:14-20
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.

  • Never a good time to go: These apostles were in the middle of a work day, and were called to interrupt their livelihood to go with Christ.  They left their father, probably and elderly man–especially for the life span of one during this age–the responsibility of the family business, and feeding their own families, to follow Christ.  Aren’t we all able to make excuses that would suffice to say that we are too busy and have too many responsibilities to leave what we are doing and those relying on us to go spend time with Jesus?
  • This all took place after John the Baptist had been arrested, a very questionable and dangerous time in the lives of these men.  John had pointed the way to Christ, and then he was taken into imprisonment and finally beheaded at the request of a beautiful young woman, a misguiding mother, and an egotistical leader. Thinking about the injustice of this situation and the dangers it presented to those who threatened the current leaders at that time, following Christ had another level of uncertainty for the apostles, in addition to leaving their living and families. What dangers do I feel I am facing by following Christ in my circumstances today?
  • These men were called in the middle of their daily tasks, simple though they were.  They were not engaged in anything noteworthy or glamorous,  yet they were diligently following their duties with honor and responsibility, and no doubt, great love.  It is doing the small things in our lives with great love that makes us saints (St Therese, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, St Francis).  It isn’t the world’s value of what is worthy or right, but what God speaks to each of us in our own hearts that His will is for us.  At different times, it may be a different task or maybe not even make sense to those around me (like going without my phone and not chit-chatting with others around me for a few days on a silent retreat) but it is what God is calling me to that matters, and the fruit of that call will be the peace He gives me in my heart, and the love it brings to those around me as a result.

In preparation for our Spiritual Exercises this upcoming week, we took our list of registrations and went into the chapel to pray for each person by name, before the Eucharist.  We wanted to make sure that those who are endeavoring to break away from the digital world and their responsibilities are protected against all that resistance against us in the spiritual realm when we attempt to spend precious time with the Lord.  “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12). There are always earthly temptations that may keep us from being able to escape into a deep sea of prayer for a few days, but we all feel the tangible influence of spiritual resistance that attempts to keep us from the beauty of graces that await us in the silence with God. Therefore where two or more of us are gathered, (Matthew 18:20) kneeling (Ephesian 3:14), and calling by name (Is 40:26) we speak thanksgiving and praise for how God will deepen our spirits in His presence.

 

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