By Fr. Ric Chinchilla, CJM
This Sunday's Gospel tells us, among other things, about Jesus' words to the fishermen at the Sea of Galilee. He called them to follow him, and they, leaving everything, followed him.
There must have been something attractive in Jesus' invitation.
For these men, there was something shocking when they heard it, so much that they left their nets and their families to follow Jesus wherever he went.
Psalm 139 proclaims:
"Lord, examine me, and know my heart, test me and know my concerns."
Further, it states: "if I speed away on the wings of the dawn, if I dwell beyond the ocean, even there your hand will be guiding me, your right hand holding me fast."
And at the end of the psalm, verse 23 says: "Lord, examine me and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts."
First, the psalmist feels God surrounds him; later, he will invite the Lord to know him and even test him. Obviously, he feels at peace with God.
The way the gospel writers, each with a different nuance, tell us about the moment when Jesus called his disciples to follow him, makes us reflect on the mysterious power of the words of Jesus, the power of his voice, the power of his calling.
Let's consider some examples:
- The voice of Jesus spoke to the agitated and stormy sea of Galilee, urging the storm to calm down, and so it happened.
- The same voice called Lazarus, who, dead for four days, had to leave the grave, and he did so.
- The same voice at the crucifixion told his mother Mary, while looking at the disciple: "woman, this is your son," and likewise to the disciple: "This is your mother." Mary thus became the mother of the Christian community, and we are all brothers.
- The same voice after the resurrection reassured the group of disciples when he said: "I am with you ... until the end of time." And so in every Eucharist, he is present.
From a spiritual perspective, Jesus' voice was definitely more than just sounds coming out of his mouth; His voice becomes a spiritual experience, something that has to be lived.
In contrast, we also find considerable resistance to the same voice, especially from the Pharisees, Sadducees, and priests. The same words that created a crucial moment in the lives of some also cause disdain, hatred, and resistance in others.
And both reactions are freely chosen by the subjects. Jesus never plays the magic flute to trick people into following him. The impact and personal experience of those words require a specific personal decision and, sometimes, a response to change everything, which will define the rest of their lives.
Either we accept the word, and we change and evolve or remain motionless and frozen, choosing to ignore and reject any invitation to inner transformation.
What nets or boats do we need to leave behind? What areas in my life desperately need the grace of Jesus? (those that I have ignored for some time but in reality, I know it is urgent) Are there any adjustments needed in my present choices?
Am I willing to take the first step? Even if it is a small one.
" Lord, examine me and know my heart, test me and know my thoughts ". Psalm 139, 23