Read Mark 1:14-20
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. Read More…
Meet Sister Sharon McMillan
Sr. Sharon lives in Monterey, California, and is thoroughly enjoying her teaching for the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries for the local Jesuit University, Santa Clara. Read More…
St. Mark provides no details in this passage about how Simon, Andrew, James, and John made their sudden decisions to follow Jesus' call. All we see is that his call was urgent: inviting them beyond family, beyond boats, beyond nets that needed mending, beyond thriving business, beyond concern for hired men. The call was urgent: "Come after me. Follow me." The living beings to whom you will commit yourself now are not fish, but human. You will become disciples pouring yourself out to make other disciples; you will fish for people. The gift you have been given give as a gift. As you were invited, you will invite others so that all may have life and have it to the full.
Jesus' fishing lessons for us who follow him, for us who have been baptized into his good news, for us who live his life daily according to his preaching "repent and believe," we know these fishing lessons as learning to "change, turn around, be converted," and then to "believe, trust, follow." His fishing lessons for making disciples follows the same pattern as our own call. Certainly we each remember: what sandy shore was I walking then? what name did he call me? what did I leave behind? how did I begin to follow? how did I sustain my relationship to him (and to the other fishers along side me)? How did Jesus first reach out to me in the most intimate way and invite me into life?
So day by day, year by year, in this fishing ministry with Jesus, we learned the names people longed to be called so that they would know they are invited. We learned how to help them leave behind what was holding them back. We learned how to accompany them as they too said "yes" in the depth of their being, as they walked with us along the sandy, rocky, muddy, crooked, and straight paths of discipleship, following the Lord of life who is the Great Fisher, the Lamb of God, Friend, Brother, and Christ.
The song "Pescador de Hombres"/Fisher of People, written by Cesáreo Gabaráin, tells this Gospel story and our story. "Señor, has dicho mi nombre"/Lord, you called my name. "En la arena he dejado mi barca"/on the shore I left my boat. "Junto a ti, buscaré otro mar"/at your side I will seek other shores. In gratitude we remember the call to discipleship in its early days, and now note with wonder how the following and the fishing have been transformed. Because of course the call continues through every day, every moment, every breath. What names does Jesus call me now? what am I leaving behind? how do I sustain my discipleship? what other disciples does Jesus ask me to call? And no matter what, how do I remain at his side as faithful disciple?