Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. (Mark 1:14-20)
You and I can’t be that much different. We’re human. Humans not only have the same traits but, more often than we realize, we have the same experiences. Of course, the situation surrounding the experience may be different but the essence of the experience is the same.
That’s also another reason why reading the Gospel touches us. It speaks to our common experience which leads us to the question of: “How did I wind up here?”
You and I are here because you and I have been given a mission. But to understand what is expected of us, today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus said we have to repent and believe. Funny thing about those two words. They don’t mean as you might think.
Repent literally means to turn around. Jesus is telling us that to fulfill his purpose for our lives, we need to reorient the way we think. As humans, we tend to be tainted by selfishness, egocentricity, blind ambition and a host of other characteristics that prevent us from seeing the word of God come alive in our lives. We let go so that our life may be reoriented, so that we can now travel in a new direction, so that we may be open to receive the life of God anew. When we let go, everything is transformed – including our nets, boats, and fathers.
Ultimately, it’s about letting go of our own little life so that we can receive God’s life.
Then comes the second word – believe. To believe is to take Jesus at his word and to recognize that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to free us from bondage to sin and harmful desires. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to a relationship of peace and friendship with Him. He is our Father and he wants us to live as his sons and daughters. God loved us first and he invites us in love to surrender our lives to him.
We surrender our lives to him so that we can be more than ourself. He calls us to be something in the world. Not a “something” measured by mercenary standards but a “someone “ who has been given a powerful responsibility by Him. He calls us to be someone for others. To be some one for others.
The writer Frederick Beuchner wrote that our vocation in our life emerges in that place where the passion of our hearts meets the hunger of the world.
That’s the intersection where you and I are placed. The world today is very hungry – hungry for kindness, empathy, concern, sensitivity, truthfulness, fidelity and a million more needs.
Our mission is to participate with God in God’s own saving grace. If that sounds too grand for you, remember that Jesus Christ chose the most ordinary of men to follow him. When he said “follow me,” they responded immediately. They did not as” How Did I get here?”
They got it! They understood that their “new work” was to move to a larger vision, to orient their life in a new direction. They got the fact that their little story of life was connected to a much larger story of life – God’s life.
How and why did you and I get here? Because God wants you and I to help carry out His kingdom. Every day. In every way. Now more than ever in this world, you and I are here because the world needs more of us who live out His word. . . to help feed the hunger of those who don’t hear it, those who are marginalized, and those who can see Him in us.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Help me to believe your word and follow you faithfully. Fill me with the joy of the gospel that your light may shine through me to many others.”
The call of Jesus to us is not some broad, general teaching, but always a personal, unique call. Jesus calls me. He is inviting me into something. And he is leading me somewhere according to the person that I am, in respect to the story of my life, and the nature of my personality. Often enough we might not think that something is being coaxed forth from within us, or that our journey of life has a special direction about it. However, one of the great insights we can be given, spiritually, is to be able to look back over our life and see how things have, in fact, unfolded in a particular direction. The path is always there. We need to find it and follow it home.