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3rd Sunday in OT (A)

Where were you when Jesus called you?
MATTHEW 4:12–23

By Sr Christina Araujo OP

In this Sunday’s gospel two things happen: first, John the Baptist has been arrested and is in prison. Second, Jesus goes back to Galilee, leaves Nazareth and moves to a lakeside town where He begins His ministry.

Both men have reached significant moments in their life-journey. For John, his public ministry has come to an end; for Jesus, His public ministry is beginning.

God’s plan is unfolding.

John will only know of Jesus’ activities through what he may hear while in prison. Jesus begins His preaching, taking up the thread of John’s preaching and carrying it further as He calls two fishermen, Simon and Andrew, to follow Him. Jesus promises that they will now be ‘fishers of men’. Their work will be to help bring people to God.

Simon and Andrew leave their nets at once and follow Jesus. Then Jesus sees James and John with their father in their boat, mending their nets. Jesus calls them also. At once they leave the boat, their father and the family fishing business to follow Jesus.

Where were you when Jesus called you? What were you doing? Who was the ‘Jesus person’ who first called you? A parent? Teacher? Retreat leader? Friend? Catechist? Prayer group member? Priest? Stranger? What was it like for you?

As they leave the boat and their father, the disciples set out on a new journey of following Jesus to become the first witnesses and collaborators of His ministry as He goes around teaching, proclaiming the Good News.

How has your journey been as disciple? Where have you gone around teaching and proclaiming the Good News? How did it all begin?

Many of us can identify a moment in our lives that launched us into ministry.

Perhaps—like Simon Peter, James and John—we were going about our regular work ‘casting our nets in the sea’ or ‘mending our nets’.

Then Jesus passed our way and called us. Someone came along, inviting us to a new way of life. Who was it? How did it happen? Somehow the Good News reached deep down inside of us. And suddenly our life was changed.

We had Good News to share and we wanted everyone to experience it.

Remember those days? It was like if Jesus was going around the whole of our ‘Galilee’ and ‘teaching in our synagogues’. We were receiving the Good News and passing it on to others as well and people were being healed.

Some who—for various reasons—had kept far from Church, began to make their journey back home.

Jesus was among us in a new way calling people to come back home. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus was saying. ‘I will make you fishers of men’. And people—long separated from the Church family—returned home. Some of those who returned began devoting much of their time and energy to help others come to know God’s love. It was a glorious time.

Then there came the time when, like John the Baptist, some would find themselves no longer able to move about as easily as we did in the past. Perhaps we found ourselves confined, not by a material prison as John was, but by the constraints of illness or age-related challenges that in one way or another would restrict our ability to move about as we would like.

That was kind of scary, somewhat like John the Baptist in prison perhaps. But God was there. How did you deal with similar experiences? What was it like for you?

Let us pray

Thank You God for people who have been like Jesus to us at different stages in our lives, for relatives, for prayer group leaders, for teachers, for friends.

As we went on our way, they noticed us and invited us to follow.

Thank you for the new life that opened for us through their invitation.

Forgive us for the times we have been cold or lukewarm in our following of You. We have gloried in keeping the faith rather than sharing it. Sometimes we have given in to discouragement in the face of unexpected challenges.

Help us to see what You want of us at each stage of our lives. Give us the courage to do what You want and to do it wholeheartedly. Amen.

Sr Christina Araujo is a Dominican sister of the Sinsinawa Community