To understand the significance of today’s Gospel. One needs to refer to Jesus’s first words in the Gospel of Mark when he says, after proclaiming, “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” He adds, “repent, and believe in the gospel.”
In other words, if we want to enter this Kingdom and share in all of its meaning, we are asked to trust in God more than other voices (at times, even our own) — over and over again.
This trust in God is never unreasonable, even though it is often difficult and hard to understand. It I hard for us as educated people to trust God. After all, we have gone to school, we have lived our lives and its lessons and our rational mind intervenes and reminds us of all the things we have learned and all of the experiences we have had. It is hard as they used to say in the 70’s “To let Go and let God.”
Now for some of us, that rewiring of the brain has already begun. For others, it is a project on our “to-do” lost. But today’s Gospel gives is an example of four men who did let go and let God.
Jesus had a plan for Peter, Andrew, James, and John. He wanted them to join him in His mission of redeeming the world and conquering the forces of evil. He wanted them to become intimate friends of God, to share the wisdom, joy, and purpose that comes only from that friendship, never from “the world in its present form,” which, according to St. Paul in today’s Second Reading, “is passing away.” However, Jesus knew that He could not explain all this to them; it was too much for them to grasp. Therefore, He simply invites them to follow Him.
We know from the Gospel of John that this was not the first time He had met them. He had already spent time with them and let them get to know Him; He even attended the wedding at Cana with them. He was not some fanatic unexpectedly demanding an irrational abandonment of family, career, and previous plans. No, Jesus built up a relationship of mutual knowledge and trust before He invited them to become His full-time disciples. So He asks them to give up their old ways, to leave behind their fishing nets, those nets that represented their livelihood, reputation, and stability. John and James even leave behind their father and the family business. Why? Because they trusted Jesus; the Kingdom of God had begun to rule in their hearts.
What was the result? They became saints; they changed the course of history.
They discovered a purpose, wisdom, a joy, and a meaning far beyond what their nets and their family business ever could have given them — they entered the Kingdom of God.
Jesus also has a plan for us.
It begins with understanding that there is no “I”. There is no “me”. What each of us is, is “we”. Now before you think I have begun reading you the story of “Alice in Wonderland” let me explain. By our Baptism and by our Confirmation, we have received the in- dwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit resides within us reminding us that God is close by, reminding us that no matter the decision, nor the hardship, He is there. There is no door to unlock. He is there. What we need to do is to allow the silence and our prayer to allow him to move in our lives. When we sit silently, when we talk to Him, it is an invitation to allow our lives to become stronger and more enriched by allowing Him to guide our decisions, by allowing Him to take the lead, by allowing him to become the driver of our life’s vehicle.
Time and time again, history reminds us that, when this happens, our lives change. The Saints all proved it, but, on a more approachable level, thousands and thousands of Christians before us and around us have learned that lesson. Some of those saints are in this Church today. People who now so trust God, people who recognize that when it is the “we” and not the I, that their lives are more at peace and their lives are more complete.
Learn from this Gospel. It is powerful in its message and its implications can change your life.