Today’s Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
“Then they left their nets and followed him.”
To be perfectly honest, I used to read this passage and think, “Of course they followed Him! He’s Jesus! What’s the big deal?”
Then, I sat down to write this reflection. I read through the passage over, and over, and over again. Then, it hit me. If I were Simon, Andrew, James, or John, I probably would not have followed Jesus—at least not without hesitation or a bunch of questions.
Let’s revisit the Gospel:
First, we learn that John the Baptist had been arrested. Obviously, the Romans are not keen on the idea of an earthly king in the Messiah. Following this earthly king (whom they perceived to be a threat to the emperor,) would have had great consequences.
Then, the scene moves to Jesus walking along the Sea of Galilee where He sees the fishermen, Simon and Andrew. He invites them to follow him. I love the Revised Standard Version—2nd Catholic Edition for its emphasis on their response. “And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
Had I been in their shoes, I probably would have said, “Nah, that’s all right. I’ve got a good thing going here with my successful fishing business. I’m pretty busy. Why don’t you go and ask that guy over there? I’ll wait for a guy who looks like he can be an actual king.” Isn’t that so embarrassing? It’s the truth, though.
It’s so easy to read these passages and take for granted the tremendous courage and graces Jesus’ disciples had. They abandoned everything, accepted the crosses as they came, and followed Him. They continued to follow Him in the face of persecution and martyrdom, believing that following Him was worth the ultimate price.
Jesus is still calling me today, asking me to drop what I have going for the better thing He has in store for me. “Come after me.” When my stubborn pride gets in the way, God has a way of not-so-subtly dropping anvils in my life to wake me up to the realization that I need Him.
What is stopping me from answering Christ’s call to follow Him?
Lord, please release my grip on whatever it is that is holding me back from following you. Open my heart to your Divine Mercy. Allow your love to penetrate my soul and bring my life into full communion with you. Help me to find courage when I read about the lives of the saints who chose your will above their own. Please forgive me for the times when I think I know better than you, my loving Father and Creator of my soul. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Catherine Boucher