Have you ever wondered why, of all the available professions, Jesus chose fishermen to be his first disciples? I mean, he could have picked from his own trade: carpenters, called to shape and build the Kingdom. Or how about farmers, called to sow and reap the Gospel message? No, he chose fishermen, and he invites them to become fishers of people.
But we’re getting side-tracked here. The point here isn’t Simon, Andrew, James or John’s occupation. Rather, it’s their response. They literally drop everything, James and John even leave their father, as they get up at once to follow Jesus. Note: Jesus hasn’t done anything to impress or wow them yet. He presents a simple invitation, and they accept it.
Can you imagine, after hearing or reading this passage, submitting your resignation to your employer, fare welling your loved ones, going off the grid, and casting your net into the world to draw people into the Church family? Sounds a bit irresponsible, even dramatic – yet, people still make this choice of surrender, to live their vocational calling as priests, deacons, bishops, sisters, nuns, brothers, consecrated men and women. If we’re being honest, there’s a great deal of sacrifice in marriage and parenthood as well.
So, is that it, have we uncovered the full meaning of this story? Perhaps not.
The response of the disciples is not just about surrender – they act with deep and enduring faith. Remember, Mark’s Gospel emerges from the context of the persecution of the early Christian community. Suffering is real for the community that first took up this Gospel, and Mark’s words remind them to maintain their faith. For them, the Kingdom of God which Jesus announces as the top of today’s Gospel is hope, salvation, new life, redemption – and it is for us too – through this journey of faith in the face of trials.
Today’s Gospel is a reminder that Christ calls us to give ALL of ourselves in ALL areas of our life, in real surrender to the faith and hope we hold in Him. The Kingdom of God is at hand and that’s Good News! Though we may not be adept at casting nets, our faith-filled surrender to that Good News is the bait that will reel people into the fullness of life.
Adam is reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel Mark 1:14-20