First Week in Ordinary Time
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As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him.
Last night I went to see “Lone Survivor.” I have to admit I enjoyed the book more than the movie, but the movie hit home the tremendous sacrifice these fine young men were willing to make for each other.
Like so many of our own personal stories, their begins with a very hard choice that must be made.
Between heaven and hell. What will I do? There are times in our lives when we have to make some pretty tough decision. What will I do? What choice will I make?
Often times, our choices are between good and bad; between being selfless or selfish; between not sinning and sinning. Will I keep my baby? Will I move in with my boyfriend or girlfriend? Will I break my promise? Will I lie about what happened?
This wasn’t the case for the Apostles Simon and Andrew. Both men had an honest occupation: they were fishermen. They weren’t working at a bar or casino or at Hooters! They had respectable jobs and were law abiding citizens and Jews. They were not looking for trouble. Instead, “trouble” found them! Jesus of Nazareth came to town.
All their problems began when the Lord invited them to follow Him. Now, they found themselves in a difficult situation. What will we do? What would you do? And unlike so many other times, the decision wasn’t between sinning and not sinning, but between living and sacrificing.
Let’s not fool ourselves. It’s a sacrifice to follow the Lord more dearly and more nearly. As fishermen, these men used to put in long hours. Now, they were going to put in even longer hours and for a lot less pay! They used to live among friends and family. Now, they were going to travel all over the world and live in the midst of strangers, vultures and enemies. They used to see the immediate fruits of their labor. Now, they would wonder if they ever made any difference at all. The catch used to be so easy. Now, they would have to pray for others, debate others, show mercy and patience and love towards others. Why in the world would anyone ever want to do something like this? Was this a gain or a loss? Why isn’t this a no brainer?
Often in life we will be challenged to choose between two good things. Unfortunately (or fortunately), one of them may be easier than the other. Choose the way Christ would choose. Choose the one which demands more sacrifice or more love. This is our challenge and this is Christ’s challenge to us.
“To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise” (Ps. 116:17a).
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