January 27, 2008
ORDINARY 3 (A)
Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men. – Mt. 4: 19
Catching people & catching fish are two different things. Fish are caught against their will & pulled violently from the water. People are caught by uncovering the deep desires of their hearts. If Mother Teresa of Calcutta was fascinating enough to capture the imagination of our contemporary world, think what it must have been like to meet Jesus.
We follow fascination, especially when it has our “name” on it. When we see someone thinking, feeling, or acting in a way which we are incapable of at the moment, that way of thinking, feeling, or acting has our “name” on it. We see it as a liberating next step for ourselves & we apprentice ourselves to it. It draws us into discipleship. A disciple is simply a fascinated person who desires to know & do what they see in another. It may even be a secret apprenticeship – the other person may not know we are secretly taking clues from how they go about things.
Jesus did not wait for people to come to him & ask to be His disciples. He assertively chooses them. Such directness honors them, & they drop everything to follow. His forthright energy fascinates because it is the polar opposite of the universal human trait of timidity. We want to now more about where this man is coming from.
Many people – most people perhaps – really fear change. It’s too risky for them ever to think about altering the status quo. That includes many of us nominal Church-going, outwardly pious Christians. We drift along really deceiving ourselves into the belief that we are followers of Jesus, forgetting that the call to follow & the call to change are inseparable.
We don’t want to change in the radical way our Lord spells out for us. Repentance means turning away from present preoccupations to entertain a more adventuresome possibility. We see it as a threat to our most treasured prejudices & our personal comfort & security. The problem is that the boundaries of our love are very narrow & exclusive.
Perhaps we love our family members & a few other people, & we talk about loving the poor & disadvantaged without really meaning it. It is as if there are huge rubber bands around our life which are always contracting & pushing us inward. But God keeps working on us. He keeps on loving us & He keeps on making us miserable too. When you are feeling miserable, consider the possibility that you feel the way you do because you have bottled up God’s love inside you. He never gives it to us for our benefit alone – it must be shared.
It requires fascination to break those rubber bands. If our religious experience has been boring, the problem is not with God but with us & our own timidity which lulls us into being content with mediocrity. AMEN!