Thursday, January 19, 2017

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year - A - 2017

When John the Baptist was arrested his movement or ministry faded away.
That’s no surprise
After Jesus’ Baptism
John had done everything in his power to direct people to Him
“I must decrease he must increase”

Jesus moves from the Jordan River to the Sea of Galilee which was located on major trade routes and had lots of commerce.

By doing so it would be much easier for Him to spread His message.
People traveling along these trade routes would routinely stop along the journey and spend the night many were happy to listen to the Rabbis as they spent their evenings in the towns by the sea.

If they were moved by what they heard they would gladly recount it to the people of their own towns or regions.

The scholars tell us that Jesus was probably preaching regularly along the Sea of Galilee and that it might have been possible that James, John, Simon and Andrew might have heard him previously or heard of him.

When you read the account it seems like some stranger walked up to them and said come follow me and they did… Maybe maybe not.

What is important is that they followed him.
What do we know about this event and the men Jesus called ?

Obviously it shows us that Jesus made the first move.
This was rather odd because the Rabbis of his time usually waited for disciples to come and find them.
Our God does not just sit by and wait for us to find Him
He actively seeks us out,
hunts us down as you will.
Always respecting our free will God continually knocks

We know that Jesus didn’t pick the holiest people
He did not choose from the priestly class or the religious leaders of his time

Jesus did not pick the smartest people
They were not scholars of the law.

He picked normal people for an extraordinary task
They were fishermen
However when you think about it Fishermen had unique skills for the tasks of discipleship One of the commentaries I read compared the work of Fishermen to the work of Disciples.

A fisherman is patient – he is used to waiting, he knows that if he moves too quickly and pulls on the line he may lose the fish, so he waits

A fisherman preservers he doesn’t give up,
he keeps trying if not here then there.  If he gave up he would never eat or enjoy the fruit of his labor.

A fisherman is Courageous… the boat is always small and the sea is so large.
You have to be courageous to fish
The Sea of Galilee was very shallow and below sea level so it was prone to quick storms as we saw in the Gospe.

A fisherman has the Eye for right moment he knows when to pull up the net for the maximum catch.  Jesus had an eye for the right moment because he discerned the exact moment to call Peter Andrew James and John.

A fisherman has to know the right bait, in other words the type of fish that he is fishing for and what they are looking for, what they like to eat. If you put the wrong bait on the line you will go home with no bait and no fish

A fisherman has to keep himself out of sight he can’t be the attraction the focus of attention. If the fish see him they will swim away.

I think it is also important to note that Jesus didn’t call perfect people

Peter would deny him three times and inadvertently tempt him against the cross.
Jesus was so desperate during that temptation that he said to Peter “Get behind me Satan”

James and John had dreams of grandeur and wanted to sit one thrones next to Jesus in Heaven. Even though Jesus had repeatedly taught that this type of scheming and pridefulness would lead to nothing good.

We hear next to nothing about Andrew  one author said maybe that is because he always took the safer course and was afraid to risk

Even with all of their faults Jesus did not revoke their call,
He refused to give up on them.

What does this all say to us..

God is active in our lives.
If we don’t feel it or see it
Then we are not looking or listening
Just like Jesus fished out his disciples God is desperately trying to fish us out
He uses anything he can our successes our failures our dreams our hopes our feelings our challenges.

Some of my most beautiful moments with God were when I was discouraged or sick or fed up
When I was happy and excited and moved.
God uses everything to bring us to him and inspire us to love one another.

Are we aware that God needs us?
Are we aware that He is active in our lives?
Are people better people because they know us
Are people better people because we were brave enough to call them to more

And our faults and failures  our weaknesses are no excuse from the call of discipleship the Apostles were also a mess and Jesus didn’t give up on them.

Like Jesus said to the first apostles
Come follow me and I will make you fishers of Men.
He tells us the same very thing

Let’s trust Him and
Let’s follow Him

There are so many fish in the sea.

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