S173P5 – Opportunities taken: the first step

Mt. 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew.  They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.  Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John.  They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets.  Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Some people are not sure that they are searching for something higher than themselves in life.  I was sure from a very early age, although I always thought that God had called me only later in life.  After careful consideration, I realized that He started calling me very early on.  I recall crying out to my ceiling on one evening because I was so upset and depressed as a child, but my cries did not materialize into actually searching for him.  Throughout adolescence, He gave me opportunities to see him.  As an adult, He saved me from one calamity after another.   It was not until I decided to drop what I was doing, pay attention, and listen to him that I changed my ways.

These interactions that show us how Jesus called his disciples can be jarring.  It looks like these guys made split-second decisions without giving much thought to what they were doing.  They were working or with family, and then decided to leave all that to follow this stranger.  It seems like they were pretty impetuous, but they were really something else.  We know from the prophets that Jesus was nothing to look at.  What drew people to him was what came out of him.  He had something within him, and He has the same thing now.  When people encounter him, they can choose to be repelled by it or be drawn to it.  That is the first step, the first opportunity, getting that true and clear view of Jesus.

Jesus shows himself to the world daily in so many different ways, and some will respond just like the disciples.  They will stop what they are doing, drop their nets, ignore all that they thought mattered to them, and pursue their Lord first.  Others will be put off by him and cling even more desperately to the nothingness they think has value in this life.  Knowing that Jesus will show himself to others through us, it is for the Church to be prepared to help people on this first step.  We need wisdom to spot those fishermen and lead them to the real Jesus.  Father, give us what your Son carried, a presence of the Spirit so strong that the lost would know You are real and trust us to make the introduction.