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Sunday, January 26, 2014
"He saw two brothers"
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
This Scripture means a great deal to me on a number of levels. You may or not know my vocation story, but I am always grateful to my older brother Bobby and the role he played in my answering the call to the priesthood.
Let me just paint the picture real quickly. I'd thought about priesthood my entire life, but never told anyone, partially because I wanted to be married and have a family, partially because I didn't think it would be a very enjoyable life, and partially because I was afraid of being called. It wasn't until my last year of college that this "call" became very loud and clear. Bobby was discerning the priesthood and he broke the news to my parents and finally it gave the courage to talk openly about my "call". He mentioned that he was going to make a retreat at the seminary and told me I could join him if I wanted. I never did get the date from him.
It was a friday evening weeks later. Now remember, I was in college, getting ready to go out to the flats and party the night away. One of my friends was already at my house to pick me up. My brother, much like myself, is not very good with dates forgot to tell me that this was the Friday of the retreat. He called on his way to the Seminary and asked if I was still coming. I realized I would be late for the retreat, would have to tell my friend to go without me and miss what looked to be a pretty good night.
My parents have a beautiful back yard with trees and a creek running through it. It was evening and the sun was setting. I vividly remember going out there on the back deck and talking to God and asking Him for some clarity. In the beauty of His Creation I had a great sense of peace and rightness and goodness. The phone rang and it was the priest who was running the retreat. He told me I could come late. I told him I wasn't packed... "That's Ok" he said just come now. I told him "I'm not even sure what to bring." He said you don't need anything just come now. I told him "one of my friends was already here and I wasn't sure what to do." "Come now." He said. And I did.
The truth is when we finally hear the voice of God it is effective. What I mean is that we don't necessarily have to be prepared, we may not be expecting it at all, we may not think we are ready, but when we know deep down that it is Jesus calling. We have a tendency to respond immediately.
Notice in the Gospels today when Jesus is walking along the Sea of Galilee he invites Peter and Andrew, He calls them and "at once they left their nets and followed him." Later he comes across two other brothers: James and John who were fishing in their boat with their father. He calls them and "immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him."
I think about the people who have joined the Catholic faith over the years. At some point maybe even after years they finally decide to take the step. In some mysterious way God speaks to them, takes their heart, and immediately they dive in. It's amazing to watch someone convert to the faith and give themselves entirely over and open themselves up so wonderfully to the grace of God in the Sacraments.
I think of the people who helped start the men's and women's renewals. Each one of them felt "a call" at some point and when they knew it was Jesus calling... they responded without hesitation. They just say "Father, I knew it was the time." "I know this is what I need right now."
I think about the people who have traveled on the Mission Trips to El Salvador. They too will have this moment of resolution where they know there is no turning back. God is calling them to this great adventure and once they realize that there is no hesitation, no reluctance, they just know they have to do it and they have to do it now.
Maybe God is calling you to some mission or purpose?
The truth is he is still calling today. I was blessed to walk along the Sea of Galilee last year and I feel as though the Galilee is right here... Jesus is walking in our midst. If you are reading this, it's like right now He's walking by you in the Sea of Galilee.... calling you. He's calling some of you to the priesthood, I know there are right now reading this that he is calling to the priesthood. Some He may be calling to religious life. I know there are others that are worried about leaving their families, or their work, or their business... but when they realize it is Him calling, when they hear it is His voice there is no doubt in my mind that they will "immediately leave their boats and their father" and follow him.
When God calls, it doesn't matter so much if we are expecting it, or prepared, or ready... the power more so remains in God Calling.
Is God calling you to something? This is the Sea of Galilee right here... when you realize it is Jesus calling, he has an ability to move you and stir you that you respond "at once" and "immediately"... Follow me.