“At once they left their nets and followed him.”
“Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum.” Capernaum was a busy city with a large population. It is probable that Jesus moved to Capernaum as the many there needed His ministering. It was in Capernaum that Jesus began his ministerial journey. He picks up from where John the Baptist left. It marks a critical transition after John’s arrest. Both proclaimed: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.” – Matt 4:17. The power of this proclamation would become evident when Jesus calls his first disciples.
As he walked along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew at their daily work. Simon and Andrew were hardworking and simple. They were busy casting their net in the lake for they were fishermen. He said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” No sale speech, no persuasion was needed. They had little reason to leave the comfort of their current way of life. They had a steady job yet both left their nets at ONCE and followed him, while at the same time, not understanding the call and not comprehending the situation. Going on further, he saw another pair of brothers, James, son of Zebedee and his brother, John. They were in their boat with their father, mending their nets. Jesus called them just as he had called Simon and Andrew. At ONCE, leaving their boat and their father, they too followed him. No questions asked.
These four young fishermen generously responded to God’s call. They would later become pillars of the Church. They threw in their lot with Jesus completely, without conditions, questions or reservations at all.
In the midst of our work both at home and at work, Jesus calls us to follow him, to make him the centre of our very existence and help him preach the message of “repentance”. God draws us from the shadows of our ignorance. He calls us from our stumbling in life, and from whatever our occupation to help him to spread the message of his love. He chooses us from where we are, in our family, in our work place – in the very environment that we are in – to make him known. He wants us to be his beacon of light to the world, to infuse this light into the lives of others. Those fishermen from Galilee emerged from a visionless existence to follow the Master and journeyed with Him to the point of giving up their lives for Him. This is our call and our example as well. If God can do great things with simple fishermen, what more can He achieve through us!
Our Lord calls each one of us to be the light of the world and that light must not be kept hidden. We are lit lamps not to be placed under the bed but to be placed in the open, to be seen. We must strive to be the guiding light, the light to lead others to Christ. We should be constantly aware of the need to go beyond our capabilities. Many times, we are hindered by our love of the material world, by our self-centeredness, and by our pride. This prevents us from giving ourselves completely to the service of God. Can we, who like Simon and Andrew, James and John, trust in the Lord, and give up our very existence, to be used by him for his glory? Can we be like the Psalmist who proclaims: “The Lord is my light and my help whom shall I fear.” Can we say boldly one day: “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light.”
To be a disciple of Christ, we need a good interior life and faith formation. We need to be demanding of ourselves. We need to be salt of the earth and light of the world. We are obliged to give good examples of our life. We must not separate ourselves from others any more than you would separate salt from the food that it is seasoning. Our interior life and faith formation should include piety and the principles a child of God must have. To give flavour to everything that we do. When our interior life is caught up in its own interests and concern, we have no room for others in our lives and our service for God will come to naught.
Finally, without him we can do nothing. With him we can do all things. Will we trust and obey?
With love & gratitude,