Jesus calls the first disciples
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus said: Follow me.
In the course of the gospel narrative we hear Jesus offer this invitation thirteen times. Each of those thirteen times represents a moment when he is inviting someone into a life of discipleship in the simplest and most direct of ways. For those who were approached there was no prolonged period of discernment, selection and training. Instead, we see ordinary people going about their ordinary, everyday business; ordinary people being asked to make a life-changing decision: to say, ‘Yes’, and follow … or to turn and plead other priorities.
Today we hear of the moment when the first invitation was offered, when it all began. Our reading gives us no sense that that day when Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee was ‘special’ in any way. Two brothers, working in the family business alongside their father, are approached by Jesus, who says to them: Follow me.
With the benefit of hindsight we know the importance of their reaction. Their immediate response: they left the boat and their father, and followed him, was the beginning of a journey of faith that has grown and grown as the centuries have passed. The passing on of the invitation to follow Jesus is the responsibility of all who profess a faith in Jesus Christ. The response of those who hear that, Follow me, whether shouted or whispered, is at the heart of Christ’s ongoing mission and ministry in this world.
Today we hear of the moment when the simple working man who was to become the rock on which Christ’s Church was to be built responded to Jesus’ call … without hesitation … as an act of true faith. Let us pray that our response to Christ’s call might be immediate, unquestioning and joyful. And … let us thank God for all those who have led the way since that day when Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee.