The God of the Ordinary
The gospel scene described in today’s gospel is without so many details, mentioning only the basic essentials. No doubt, the call of Peter was preceded by a more prolonged process. But in this gospel narrative only the bare call/response is left. This simplification of the narrative clarifies the message Mark wants to convey. The soul of the scene emerges in its clarity and simplicity. And it is this: the ideal way to respond to God’s invitation to follow Him has to be immediate, unconditional and wholehearted…. And this also applies to us. Our discipleship has to be immediate, unconditional and wholehearted.
This call of the first disciples recounted in our gospel today can prove to be encouraging and inspiring for us as we reflect on our discipleship.
For one thing, Jesus chose ordinary men to the huge task of evangelizing the world. These men chosen by Jesus are described as “uneducated, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13), fishermen and laborers who worked for a living. Considering the tremendous task of spreading the Good News through the entire Roman Empire, the choice of these men was questionable, to say the least. From a purely human perspective, it was not a very wise choice. For this kind of undertaking, one would expect to choose men who have gone to rabbinic schools or people with some proven ability to carry out a public function. Yet, these seemingly poor and ineffectual men, once they received the Holy Spirit, went on to preach boldly the message of their Master and in the end died for the faith they proclaimed. In spite of the overwhelming challenges they faced including hostility, persecution and martyrdom, the Good News has been proclaimed to almost all of the Roman Empire and many people had been drawn to Christ.
We, too, are ordinary people. And Jesus depends on us for continuing the mission of the first disciples. We are, in fact, the successors of the first disciples. Like them, we are sent by Jesus to spread the Good News, to proclaim it and to witness to it. True, not all of us are called to do it by word, but our lives should be an eloquent witness to our faith. This is a real possibility for all of us. Thorough our lives, the saving Word of God reaches others, making Christ known to a world that is so badly in need of Him, His forgiveness, His healing and His joy.