In yesterday’s Gospel Jesus meets Peter, Andrew, James, and John by the Sea of Galilee and says: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men(Mt 4:19).” I have to regard it as miraculous that “at once”, “immediately “, these men leave all they have and all they do, and choose to follow Jesus.
The Bible has various examples of regular people who respond to the call of God, not with any “ifs, buts,and ors,” but in a state of immediate surrender and obedience: Abraham, the Blessed Mother, her husband Joseph. What is it about true, intimate contact with God that compels people to act like this? What did those Apostles see in the eyes of Jesus?
I humbly believe that they looked into the Sun that is Divine Love, and they realized they could do nothing else but to follow that Love. Like all of us, they had been longing for this moment all their lives.
Henry J. M. Nouwen writes: “We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives….. Yes, there is that voice, the voice that speaks from above and from within and that whispers softly or declares loudly: ‘You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests.'” Yes, the Apostles on that shore had looked upon the Truth, and they felt within their hearts the calling to proclaim it, so that:
“Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”(Rom 10:18)
All the way to me! After 43 years of vacillation between indifference and longing, prompted by the example of loving people, and by the reading of the Scriptures, I beheld the risen Host one Sunday in a church in Queens, NY, and Jesus opened my eyes to His Truth and my ears to his message: “You are my beloved. In you my favor rests.” And then: “Come follow me.”
Wow! It was that quick, how my life totally changed. And here I am now.
The road was not easy for those Apostles who followed Jesus on that day in Galilee. It certainly has not been easy for me. But I know (even if sometimes I forget) that I am a beloved son of God, the same as every person on Earth, and I proclaim this in gratitude and joy.