Monday. Week 1, Year 1
Most fascinating is the sudden departure of two sets of brothers who have business relations with others in the fishing business. One has to wonder just how this departure struck the father of James and John. Was his faith informed enough and mature enough to accept the sudden blow to their business venture, a family enterprise. While it’s probably true, that the father Zebedee would be able to hire replacements, nonetheless this had to be a blow to the family, and that anticipates the radical decision when it comes to following Jesus Christ. He himself would later warn that no one worthy of him will place mother or father, or sister or brother ahead of him. The call to follow him is radical, and it does not brook delay and cannot be sidetracked by personal obligations.
But it is not simply personal business relations or family business relations that have to yield to this call. In leaving behind their business, at least Peter and Andrew and James were also leaving behind the means of supporting their spouses and broader family. This has often been an obstacle in the Christian world to answering the call of Christ to follow him completely. What about the wives of these three men; we know for sure that Peter was married, and it’s likely that both Andrew and James were married as well. John has always been honored as a virgin, but he for that very reason may well have been especially close to his father, just as Joseph in the Old Testament was so close to Jacob. At any rate, this following of Jesus must have put great strain on these familial ties.
For these reasons, the question of who this man is arises once again. If he is just another man, or even just another talented religious leader, one could hardly justify these actions of men abandoning their homes and businesses and family to follow him. Indeed, one would also have to question the prudence and wisdom of the one who calls men to do these things, let alone those who respond to that call. Who is Jesus of Nazareth? That is the burning question throughout the Gospels and throughout history. Today, the answer is often unclear; one is not sure, one cannot make up one’s mind, another answers the question by denying him, that is, by denying the whole Christian tradition of faith that Jesus Christ is the son of God. If he is so, then he can do these things with righteousness and men can follow him with righteousness, even when the demands seem so radical. But today fewer same to affirm this critical truth, and so such vocations are ever fewer. Pray to the Father to send more workers into the vineyard.
Categories: Weekday reflections