Chapter 7: Galilee {Jesus: A Pilgrimage}

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Welcome to our virtual book club! We’re reading Fr. James Martin’s bestseller, Jesus: A Pilgrimage. Each week we will tackle a chapter and look forward to a lively discussion together.

Jesus book conversation

“Follow me…”

How many times have you heard those words in your life? To be honest, as an eldest child and the self-appointed “queen” of my home, I think I’m more likely to typically be the one saying those words than listening for them. I have a tendency to be both a leader and a strong-willed person. My twenty-eight year marriage has worked wonders in teaching me to follow the lead of my husband and to trust that I don’t always have to be the one who’s in charge.

So I dipped into Chapter Seven from both a believer’s frame of reference and from the perspective of  one who likes controlling her own destiny. Perhaps that’s why I was so moved by both the words Fr. Jim pens in this chapter and by a fruitful meditation upon what it truly meant to Jesus’s “first disciples” to immediately drop their nets and follow Christ.

After acquainting us with the lay of the land (or should I say the “lay of the lake”) around the Sea of Galilee, Fr. Jim breaks open both the words used and context of Jesus’s invitation to Peter, Andrew, James and John. These weren’t know-nothing homeless guys waiting for the next handout. They were businessmen, with families and jobs and a sense of habit and security.

And yet as we read in this chapter, there were several plausible explanations (Fr. Jim lists seven) for their receptivity to “kairos”, a new time in their lives.

If you’re taking the time to read and ponder a book like Jesus: A Pilgrimage, I’d imagine that — like me — you’ve perhaps already made the decision in your life to drop your “nets” and follow Jesus. Perhaps you’ve even committed yourself to becoming one who “fishes for people”.

Does this mean that our invitation time has come and gone?

In a sense, reading this chapter has helped me to understand that Christ’s call in my life is a daily renewal to drop the things that tangle me and keep me from fully engaging myself in following him. They are good “nets”: my care for my family, the work I do, my desire to be a good friend and neighbor. But sometimes, I use these nets as my excuse for taking the easier path when what’s really desired by God is my full and immediate yes to radical discipleship.

I ask myself what I — in the place of Peter or Andrew or James or John –– would have done had I been standing along those busy shores of the Galilee that day.

Today, and every day that follows this one, I have the chance to give my answer.

 To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. What confusing or unclear mission has Christ called you to in your life?
  2. What ties bind you from fully following Jesus’s will for your life today?
  3. Why have you said, “Yes” to Jesus’ call to be his follower and one who leads others into relationship with him?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.

Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 8: Immediately. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Jesus Book Club page.

Copyright 2014 Lisa M. Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

7 Comments

  1. I think what hinders me is the simplicity of Jesus’ call to follow him. I try to complicated it. I get lost in the details instead of just enjoying the life He created me to live with Him. Another strong component at work in me is believing the lie that leaving all to follow Him is not the best possible life. I keep thinking what I’m giving up is more desirable then surrendering all of my being to Him. Silly, sinful, prideful human. That’s what got us in trouble in the garden of Eden, and it is still causing trouble today!

    • Jean thank you for sharing your comment! Your words remind me of what my priest preached today on the connection between meekness and humility… fully accepting this call we receive from Jesus does require us to set aside our prideful thinking that our way is better than his. I struggle with this too. Let’s pray for one another today!

  2. Sandi Belleque on

    I work for my parish and find it discouraging sometimes that parishioners want to follow the “church” and not necessarily Jesus Christ. I envy my Christian neighbors who are on fire with Jesus and have answered the call to follow him with a joyful heart. I need to turn to him more and more to refresh me and keep me focused on his message.

  3. Lisa, great reflection and points to ponder. As a parish secretary, I find that my to-do list often keeps me from welcoming all as Christ. I stress out and worry about getting my tasks done, that I can get so overwhelmed and task oriented.
    The other thing, related to what Sandi said in her comment, is that I need to have a more personal relationship with Jesus. I have heard that call for some time now and my retreat this summer helped me to re-prioritize. I too need to drop my nets and find rest in Jesus.

    • I can relate though I didn’t admit it to myself until just now when I read your comment! Yesterday at mass the desire to just sit and BE with Jesus was so overpowering I could barely contain it. Guess that’s an invitation! 🙂

      I didn’t realize how task-oriented I had become, and in the middle of the summer too! I get off on having “productive” days and am worrying about deadlines coming up that I to meet when I just need to take a deep breath and BE. Thanks for the reminder!

    • p.s. Oh my, check out today’s first reading:

      Reading 1 hos 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22
      Thus says the LORD:
      I will allure her;
      I will lead her into the desert
      and speak to her heart.
      She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
      when she came up from the land of Egypt.

      On that day, says the LORD,
      She shall call me “My husband,”
      and never again “My baal.”

      I will espouse you to me forever:
      I will espouse you in right and in justice,
      in love and in mercy;
      I will espouse you in fidelity,
      and you shall know the LORD.

  4. I’m amazed at the many ways Jesus has called me through the years, and with each call, an attempt to draw me ever closer in relationship with Him – a reminder once again, that our purpose in life is to love and serve God and neighbor. In my younger years it was to new ministries, in mid-life it was to deeper prayer; that is, to become a contemplative in action, and in my retirement years, it is a call to surrender myself to the will of God and in so doing, to trust that all will be well. Yes, I’m convinced – it’s all about TRUST! (Ruth)

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