III SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
isaiah 8:23-9:3; 1 corinthians 1:10-13, 17; matthew 4:12-23
in a talk to a group of salesian novices, their provincial asked them: «why do you want to become salesians?» he got many answers: to serve GOD, to work with youth, to reach out to the poor. the provincial stunned the novices when he said: «you can leave the novitiate! you don’t need to be a salesian to all these!»
so, why does one become a priest/religious? or perhaps one should ask a more fundamental question: why does one become a disciple of JESUS?
the answer is in today’s gospel: «he said to them, ‘follow me, and i will make you fishers of men.’»
almost always, we focus on the second part of this invitation. we focus on the mission; we focus on «doing».
we need to focus on the first part of the invitation: follow me. whenever JESUS called someone in the gospels, he said: «follow me.» and about the appointment of the apostles, mark writes: «he appointed twelve… to be with him and to be sent out…» first, to be with him!
i become a disciple for one reason: because JESUS calls me… to follow him, to a special relationship with him. st paul indicates this in the second reading when he exhorts the corinthians to be united because as christians they belong to CHRIST.
discipleship is not so much doing something; it is following and being with JESUS!
what do we need to do to follow him?
«they left their nets and followed him… they left their boat… and followed him.» leaving nets and boats signifies leaving the past life; leaving what they knew and relied on, and moving out of their comfort zones… to embrace a new life with different values and goals.
moreover, JESUS begins his preaching with a call to «repent». repentance means renewal of life.
the LORD calls you and me to follow him. what would it mean for me to follow JESUS this week? what «nets and boat» do i need to leave? am i ready to just «be with» him or must i «do» something??