The simple invitation, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” was all that Peter, Andrew, James and John needed. They left everything and followed Jesus.
A dramatic scene that we can still appreciate. The Apostles must have felt a great passion when Jesus called them. Although we are many years removed, the excitement still resonates in our minds as we imagine the radical change of life that the Apostles experienced. Choosing a new lifestyle can be very exciting and at the same time scary. Since we are all creatures of habit, we like our routines. There’s security in knowing what tomorrow will bring. The Apostles had a routine. They were fishermen and they knew exactly what their job entailed. Fishing for fish is predictable. Fishing for people is unpredictable. To be honest, the Apostles probably had no idea what they were getting into. According to the Scripture they did not ask any questions. The questions came later. “Why are you touching impure women? Lepers? The blind? All physically handicapped people were considered to be sinful and therefore untouchable. Since Jesus did not discriminate, the Apostles wondered why. He acted outside of cultural expectations. Walking with Jesus helped the Apostles to discover that the world was much bigger than Judaism, much bigger than their families and certainly much bigger than their circle of safety. Obviously, the Apostles did not read the fine print the day that Jesus called them to follow Him. But they received much more than they gave.
The Apostles found their true vocation—the purpose for their life. Happens every time we are willing to listen to the invitation. Most of us do not have the privilege of being called while we are fishing. But we can be called while we are working, or just having fun or in the middle of an ordinary day. There is usually no smoke, no sounds of thunder, the earth does not tremble. There is a voice—sometimes indirect, sometimes blatant. However, everyone is called. Everyone has a vocation. Our main vocation is to serve, to love and to allow ourselves to be loved. No one is a mistake. We tend to categorize vocations according to the social ladder. Since there are people at top; naturally there are people at the bottom. Economics play a significant role. Most young people gage their vocation according to the economic intake that certain careers promise. Financial income is important. However, the Apostles did not ask Jesus how much money they were going to get paid when they said, “Yes” to His call.
If we consider the lives of some of the saints, the majority were poor. If they had money, they surrendered their possessions to the needy to give themselves completely to the mission of the Church. God continues to call people to follow Him. The challenge is to listen. Very difficult to listen when we surround ourselves with noise, with apparatuses, with distractions. Of course, God can speak through the distraction. But He wants our full attention. One of the best ways is to listen in prayer. Countless have little or no time to be silent, much less to pray. We are the exception. We come to Church in order to listen. But we are in the minority. However, we can pray In the middle of the noise, the car ride, the music. We are certainly just as important as the original twelve. Yet, the work is more crucial because the harvest is abundant. We can use the gadgets to spread the Good News that many have not yet heard. The call to discipleship comes in many shapes, sizes and flavors. If Jesus took fishermen, tax collectors and tent makers and made Apostles out of them, He can also use our talents for the Kingdom. All that the Lord wants is our willingness to say “Yes”. He works with our limitations and makes miracles possible.
We are constantly being called by the Lord to follow Him. We want to listen and respond. a