Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I’ve always wondered what Zebedee’s reaction was to his sons just picking up and leaving their work with him to follow a stranger. Knowing the harsh words that would have come out of my own father’s mouth in a comparable situation, I can’t imagine that Zebedee said nothing, or just sloughed it off. Unless he saw that same something in Jesus that his sons did. There must have been something so compelling about Jesus that it would cause some to just drop whatever they were doing and follow him!
Indeed, this might speak to what St. Paul is addressing in the second reading today, that our loyalty to Jesus should supersede every other loyalty in our life, even our loyalty to our parents (1 Cor 1: 10-13, 17). And, if that’s the case, then the distinctions we often make in the Catholic community these days ought to be questioned. It’s difficult, but I try my best to draw a line between my secular political views and what I believe that we are called to as a Church community. That doesn’t mean that I don’t bring my Christian convictions to bear on the social issues of our day like care for refugees or protection of the unborn. In truth, we each differ in our preferences, and in the particular missions that God calls us to focus on. But, the divisions that we sometimes foster between “social justice” Catholics and “pro-life” Catholics, or “Pope Benedict” Catholics vs. “Pope Francis” Catholics are precisely what St. Paul is speaking so strongly against. Certainly, we must first be Jesus Catholics, no matter where our other passions or particular vocations place us.
Jesus, help me to follow you,
Help me to see you through all the blurriness of my vision,
Help me to hear you amidst the cacophony of competing voices,
Help me to touch you by offering a hand to the stranger,
Give me the courage to sow peace where there is division,
Give me the faith to stand where I believe you would stand,
Give me the humility to change my mind, and admit when I’m wrong,
I want to put you before all else.
I wanted to live in a community devoted to you.
Jesus, show us the way.
—Fr. Mark Mossa, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!