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.
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:
- What confusing or unclear mission has Christ called you to in your life?
- What ties bind you from fully following Jesus’s will for your life today?
- 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