We are now in Ordinary Time. The liturgical year has two such periods. One is between Christmas Time and Lent, the other time is after Easter Time, right up to the feast of Christ the King. The name ordinary is appropriate, for during this time, we listen to the teachings of Jesus and how these affected people in their ordinary daily life, and how they affect us in our life, today.
What is today’s Gospel? We will see Jesus meet four men doing their work. They were fishermen. They were doing, what they did every day of their lives. However, Jesus calls them and from that moment, their lives change into something extraordinary. During this year, we will be listening to the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew wrote primarily for a Jewish audience. The Jews were waiting for the arrival of the Messiah. They knew what was written in the holy books, they knew the writings well. So, Matthew quotes Isaiah to show that what had been written, was being realised in Jesus.
At that time, it was customary for a Rabbi (teacher) to choose people to teach. His choice was not haphazard. The choice generally fell on those who were educated and intelligent. However, Jesus, does the exact opposite. He calls fishermen, who were not known for their intelligence! In so doing, Jesus clearly shows us, that we are all called to follow him, no matter who we are. It is he, who will dispel our darkness and give us light.
Was it easy for Peter, Andrew, James and John to give up their work and follow Jesus? Did they know what was expected of them? It could be that they had heard about Jesus. It could be that it was curiosity which made them follow Jesus. No matter what the reason was, we know that they remained with Jesus, despite their shortcomings and lack of faith. The more they got to know Jesus, the more they became like him. It took time and many sacrifices. To become “fishers of men,” they had to give up not only their work, but also their families and friends.
The same invitation, Jesus made to these four men, Jesus extends to us too. Jesus is not expecting us to give up our work or family, although these types of calls are still happening too. Jesus wants us to have the same commitment as the first disciples. When they accepted his invitation, Jesus became the centre of their lives, every day and all the time. We know that there were times when they made bad choices, however they repented. It is the same with us. Although we do our best to follow Jesus, and live according to his will, there are times when we fail. However, in his mercy, Jesus gave us the sacrament of reconciliation, so that we can once again regain the grace we lost through sin.