“The choice we face is not, as many imagine, between heaven and hell. Rather, the choice is between heaven and this world. Even a fool would exchange hell for heaven; but only the wise will exchange this world for heaven.”
Gospel Text: (MT 4:18-22)
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
What can we learn from these simple fisherman who were called out to be a fulcrum to change the world? Can we accept that Jesus gives gifts to us; puts treasure into earthen vessels to carry out his work in the Kingdom?
On the surface, it may be easy to see ourselves heeding Christ’s call. Yet we must understand that this call costs our comfort and can challenge our priorities, even the priority of family. “He called them, and immediately they left their father and followed him” (MT 4:22). As parents, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers our initial reaction may be one of conflict with the example of James and John leaving their father. And while we have critical responsibilities to our families, we must come to terms that God calls us to be his servants and we are not our own. Whether our calling is urgent and immediate, or the slow work of the spirit over years in faith we are called to be faithful to his call and in faith trust even this potential conflict with our familial instincts. Comforting and inspiring are Paul’s words to the Romans: “No one who believes in Him will be put to shame” (ROM 10:11).
There are a million reasons why we should not abandon our day to day lives. This is the life we know. This is where we are safe. I could see myself saying, “Oh Jesus, can it wait until after I retire? I’ll be there soon.” But soon is not good enough for Christ. The disciples left immediately.