Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Do you see a pattern? The Gospel this weekend again presents the call of the disciples, who leave everything to follow Jesus. They leave their nets to follow the man who proclaims that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and that now is the time for repentance. The truth is that Jesus looks at each of us, too, crying out “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He wants us to share in His mission and bring souls to His Kingdom.
When we hear about these fishermen leaving their whole livelihood behind to follow Jesus, we can at first be tempted to think that it is too much, that following in such a radical way is more than we can handle. We can be intimidated by the saints whose lives seem like such perfect examples of holiness and discipleship when compared to our efforts to follow the Lord. But we should really keep reading the Gospel. If we do, we will find that these same men who seem to follow Jesus in such a perfect manner turn out to be men who struggle, fail, and disappoint, too. Their discipleship is not perfect, and while their readiness to leave all else behind is admirable, it is not the defining characteristic of their lives with Christ. Rather, the disciples are defined by their willingness to get up after a fall, to return to Jesus again and again in their weakness, to pray begging God’s help when all else seems lost.
What holds us back from answering Christ’s invitation? Are we stuck in some sin and afraid to let it go? Are we worried about what people will think of us if we try to be disciples? Does the possible discomfort of a life of discipleship intimidate us? Fair enough. There are plenty of things to be concerned about in striving to be true disciples of Christ. However, we will never know how we will respond to those challenges if we do not take the first step.
Jesus walks along the shore towards you today. His words are the same He spoke to the fishermen – “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Do not let fears of the future or the opinion of others sway you. Stand up and follow Him. Let Him lead and show you where you are to go and be confident that following Jesus in everything will lead you to the Kingdom of God.