Today’s Gospel from Mark invites us to look to the example of the apostles, who dropped everything to follow Christ. They did not know what future awaited them, but they set out with a purpose to do what the Lord was calling them.
Fr. Pablo Gadenz recently stopped by The Inner Life® to reflect on today’s Gospel. He said:
“I’m reminded of a sermon by Cardinal Newman called The Ventures of Faith. Because the disciples took a venture, took a risk. They decided to follow Jesus, leaving behind their occupation where they were earning good money as fishermen. They even had hired men working for them.
Jesus is inviting all of us to respond to Him, to follow Him. And this is a choice we make in a fundamental way, at a certain point in our life, when we have a conversion. But it’s also a choice that we need to make every day. Every day is an opportunity for a deeper conversion.
So in this sermon by Cardinal Newman, who was a convert from England in the 19th century, he explains how if we believe in Jesus it means we are going to risk something upon His word.
Jesus says, ‘Come after Me.’ And so I can hear that and realize that if I’m going to do that I’m going to have to give something. It’s going to involve taking a risk on my part.
So we might ask ourselves, as we hear this Gospel reading and see the example of the disciples who followed Jesus, ‘Do I follow Jesus with the same sense of adventure? Am I willing to venture on my faith in Christ? To take that risk so as to obtain the promises that Jesus gives us? ‘
If you’re on a train you know that you’re going somewhere, that your train has a destination. And that’s how it is when we follow Christ. We have a destination. We say we are heaven-bound, so that gives us a direction in life. We’re not just wandering around, we have a purpose that gives direction to our life. And that shapes everything that we do.
Making the choice to follow Christ is going to shape our whole life, all the choices that we then make are going to be centered around that.
We also have to realize that Jesus called them in the midst of their ordinary occupation. They were fishermen. They were doing their ordinary work. And that’s how Jesus is going to work with us as well. Jesus is going to pass by and He is going to call us in the midst of our ordinary activities. Whether it’s our work, at school, at home – that’s where we encounter Jesus. That’s where Jesus comes and calls us. And so that’s where we have to discover the adventure of following Jesus.
In some cases, it might be like the apostles where they left their homes and went to far-off places. But for most people who follow Jesus, externally there may not be a huge change. They may continue living with the same people, their family, and they may have the same occupation, but now they have a direction in their life.
And that’s where we have to discover how we can encounter Jesus in our ordinary life, in the midst of our work, just as He encountered Peter and the other disciples right in the midst of their ordinary activities.
There could be various things that hold us back. We know later in the Gospel that Jesus called another young man, who was a rich young man. And in that case, the riches held him back. They were an obstacle for him to follow Jesus. And the same can happen for us. There may be obstacles in our life – perhaps we’re too attached to our material possessions, to our security, to our own plans – and perhaps we need to be able to follow His lead.
And that’s where we see the example of the apostles, who left everything to follow Jesus. They were willing to take that risk. And unless you become a Franciscan and take that vow of poverty, you probably won’t have to give up all your possessions. But you still have to have that detachment so that they don’t master you. Possessions aren’t what control your life, rather you’re being directed by Jesus.
There can be all kinds of obstacles, and we need to have that courage to step out and make that choice to follow Jesus. Even if it means saying no to some other things in our life.”
Listen to the reflection below:
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