A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 4:18-22
18 As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them,
22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
Reflection: Following Jesus
There are two ways of following Jesus. First is to be an apostle. Second is to be a disciple. An apostle is the one being sent to bring the teachings of Jesus to others while a disciple is a student, a dedicated person who is willing to follow the said teachings. While the apostolic age ended sometime around 100 AD with the death of John the Evangelist, many disciples continued the mission of proclaiming the Good News around the world until today.
The gospel reading above indicates that the first apostles literally left their boats and their father and immediately followed Jesus. At that time, Jesus was not very popular yet and there was no indication that He was a king or rather “The King”. Yet, there was power in the words of Jesus when He said “follow me”. The first apostles just gave their full trust in the “man”.
To leave everything at the first call to follow Jesus might seem to be a very tough act to do in today’s atmosphere. Yet we hear stories of saints and would be saints who really gave up attractive and lucrative corporate jobs or family businesses in order to become priest or pastor or full time lay minister of the Lord.
For most of us who think we have no call to become full time workers in the Lord’s vineyard, there is still that calling to follow Him full time. That means, whether we have family of not, we need to be a disciple 24 hours a day. If we truly believe that Jesus is our King, then we ought to follow or obey Him whether we are at work or at play and even when we are asleep. Indeed, discipleship is full time. Moreover, we need to give our full trust in Jesus whom we are following. There should be no second thoughts and no turning back as soon as we accept Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Whether we are called to be “apostles” or disciples, we are all called to be fishers of men. And we can all start doing that mission with our own family and co-workers.