By: Br. Martin Nguyen In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ first disciples leaving their job and even their father to follow Jesus after hearing His call. How powerful Jesus’ call is! Matthew does not describe the scene of that moment by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus called His first disciples. Therefore, we need to use our imagination to go deeper into the context of today’s Gospel.
All of four first disciples of Jesus were fishermen who usually go for work at late afternoon. They were busy mending their net of casting their net. Jesus called them in the middle of their work. People can easily answer like: “do not disturb us, we are busy now” or in a polite manner: “let’s talk about that later”, etc. Supposedly, the 4 men could hear about Jesus and they might want to see Jesus but not during their work as our modern mind thinks. In fact, the 4 right away left behind even their father and everything to follow Jesus. That’s why Jesus’ call should be very strong and interesting that they immediately respond positively to it.
Did all of them want to have another life instead of fishing every day? We might presuppose yes. However, being a fisherman can guarantee them enough food. How about following a teacher who was stranger to them, will they enjoy a better life? Nobody can answer them. Then, their willingness to follow Him is a mystery to us.
A lot of hypothesis can be used to understand their immediate and voluntary response. About us, we have been listening to God’s call or invitation to choose doing good amidst our busy schedule. Did we always follow God’s will or our ego often brought us to the opposite direction? We may answer Jesus like: “not this time because if I disobey my boss and tell the truth to the client, my salary will be deducted”, or “next time, I will forgive my oppressor since that person needs a lesson now”, etc. Actually, we can follow Jesus’ call by doing God’ teachings as a best offering to God. Simply we do not want to be seen as loser, fainthearted person, weird, etc.
The first four disciples might want to change their life so they did not hesitate to leave behind everything. We too, there are some moments we wish we could choose another career. Being a fisherman does not mean having an easy life. Some days the weather can be against their labor like storm, heavy rain, etc. Some days they have to go home with empty net. We experience failure as part of life. We can hear Jesus’ invitation to work harder, to “lower the net” in an unusual way or to do something else with Him. We need to be more familiar with His voice in order to avoid some allurements and choose to follow Him.
In conclusion, we can learn from the immediate response of Jesus’ first disciples. Besides, we need to obtain the spirit of discerning all the time even during our very busy schedule what God wants me to do. As if Jesus were in my situation, “what would Jesus do?”, we need to get used to God’s invitation through our conscience, by our experience and through the teaching of our Church in order to obtain the peace Jesus promised to give us. Hopefully, after practicing every day the skill of finding God’s will in our daily activities, we will be like Simon, Andrew, James and John who answered Jesus without second thought and happily be with Him in every moment of our lives regardless how sad, frustrating or difficult it can be.