"Come, follow me!" What would your response be if a perfect stranger asked you that? Suppose you heard stories about him. What then? In any case, I know I would have asked a few questions first. Come where? For how long? To do what? What's in it for me?
The 1st disciples were called to give up their careers to walk into an unknown future. What attracted them? They had heard rumors of this Jesus around town as they slaked their thirst with the Galilean equivalent of Bud Light. He healed several people, cast out demons, they were saying. Some were even beginning to suspect he was the Messiah. And he approached them with an invitation that felt more like a command. He was promising them a way out to an unknown but exciting future. Anything would be better than what they were doing now, wouldn't it? And what if he were the Messiah? Whoa! Consider the possibilities!
They were quite a crew these four: Peter, who was like a weathervane, blown this way and that by his emotions, sometimes insightful but more often a bit dense; Andrew, his brother, was more calm but also ready to put all his eggs in one basket; James and John were called the "sons of thunder," and for good reason. They were plain spoken and direct, having quick tempers to defend their or their friends' honor. In time, they would learn that discipleship was a life-long journey that demanded a full-time response, just as we learn today. Our lived faith response is something we constantly grow into.
The disciples' families also had to give up something. I have a mental picture of Zebedee with tears rolling down his creased cheeks as he watched his sons walk away, crossing out 'and sons' from the sign by his dock. Discipleship cost him his dreams of a family business and perhaps an early retirement. We hear no more about him but later meet his wife who asks for places of honor for her beloved sons on either side of Jesus. She too would have to learn that lived faith meant something else other than a life of privilege. And Peter left a mother-in-law to fend for herself.
Yes, there is a cost, a turning away from something, but it is not toward nothingness. Rather it is a turning toward a new way of being. Jesus calls all of us to a new way of being. Beginning now, today. "Come, follow me." And prepare to embark on an adventure.
-Fr Sas, excerpts from January 26 Hom ly
3rd Sunday n Ord nary T me, Year A