The Calling of Matthew
January 10, 2022 (readings)
- Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
- Cathy Stamper
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” 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. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
Opening Prayer: Lord, quiet my mind. Help me to take a step back from my anxieties, cares, and worries and just rest quietly with you. I long to follow you and answer your call. Please give me the grace to do so today.
John Arrested: John was enormously popular and regarded as a prophet. He publicly criticized King Herod for taking his own sister-in-law from his brother Philip and making her his wife. Herod was fascinated and confused by John the Baptist. His confusion was a result of hearing the truth but not wanting to make any changes in his life. When Herod arrested John, we can only imagine the impact that made on the crowds who revered John and had witnessed the amazing events surrounding the Baptism of Jesus. It was a period of growing uncertainty and political unrest. However, instead of being fearful or cautious, Jesus boldly used this moment to proclaim the time of fulfillment and the coming of the Kingdom of God. Nothing ever kept Jesus from speaking Truth. By his example, we are encouraged to put aside all fears of reaching out to others with Christ’s love.
The Fishermen: Jesus called two sets of busy working men, Simon (Peter) and Andrew, and the brothers James and John, to abandon the tools of their livelihood and follow him. This is one of many times in Scripture where we see God call working people as they went about the business of their lives. Whether they were working the fields, fishing, or tending a flock, they were asked to abandon these tasks and answer his call. And so often, those called by God were simple folk, not particularly well-equipped for missionary activity. This certainly highlights the divine nature of the call. Only by the power of God can we fulfill our unique calling. “The Holy Spirit is the protagonist, ‘the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission” (CCC 852).
They Left Their Nets: How many pivotal times in the Bible we see God counting on a human “yes!” Moses agreed to confront Pharaoh, David accepted the call to defeat Goliath and become king. Most profoundly, Mary’s fiat brought the Messiah into the world. Here we see four more “yes” responses to the call of the Spirit. Why does our all-powerful God seek a “yes” from human beings? Our “yes” to God is an expression of our free will, a gift God gave each of us so as to unite ourselves to him in love. “By free will, [man] is capable of directing himself toward his true good. He finds his perfection ‘in seeking and loving what is true and good’” (CCC 1704). Every call is an invitation to love God more perfectly, and through him to love others.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I may not be called to be one of the Apostles, to be a king, or to be a famous follower of yours. I know that you are calling me to follow you nonetheless. I know that you are strong even though I am weak. Help me to trust in your strength. Today, as I ponder on this particular Gospel, I ask that you make me open to your call for my life. Grant me wisdom and a servant’s heart as I follow you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will say a decade of the rosary, praying to discern more deeply God’s call in my life.
For Further Reflection: Sacred Space: Commentary on Mark 1:14-20.
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