In Mark’s Gospel we hear about Jesus walking along the beach and inviting His future apostles to come and follow Him. I’d like to share with you a short reflection, which really spoke to me;
“From St.John’s Gospel we know that Jesus had already met and spent time with the four apostles whom he calls so suddenly in this passage. It’s important to keep this in mind: far from unexpectedly demanding an irrational abandonment of family, career, and previous plans, Jesus built up a relationship of mutual knowledge and trust before he invited Peter, Andrew, James, and John to become His full-time disciples.
Likewise only as we cultivate a true friendship and an intimate and ongoing exchange of hearts with our Lord will we be able to hear and heed his call in our life. This is not a God who demands blind obedience to his awesome power; this is Jesus Christ, true man, who meets us right where we are and walks along the shore of our lives, who wishes to get to know us, to spend time with us, and to call us by our names. This is a Lord and God who wants our friendship, so that he can share his life with us.” *(taken from ‘The Better Part’ p.347)
This reflection speaks so closely to my heart: “…as we cultivate a true friendship and an intimate ongoing exchange of hearts with our Lord we will be able to hear and heed his call in our life.” In my own life I can look back and recognize many of these moments. I would like to share one such example with you today; why I (along with my family) am here (in Telegraph Creek) today. I share this, not out of a self-righteousness (that I am so close to the Lord) but, from the joy of my heart and to give glory to God for how he has worked in my life, and in the life of my family, and how he can work in all of our lives.
Denise and myself first felt God pulling us to serve as missionaries, about 6 years ago, after hearing a priest share about the northern Catholic missions and the shortage of priests (and even the lack of a spiritual presence) in many of these remote locations, even within our own province. As we thought and prayed about this we came to the realization that our family was our first missionary territory; that we need to be rooted in love and hope in order to share that with others. We joined a group of other like-minded people; seeking to enter into the heart of Jesus. We felt a continual pull to the idea of reaching out to others in a remote community, but we continued to wait on God’s timing.
Reading the line from Mark’s Gospel, “…[James and John] left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed Him”, struck me today as I read it, because this was much of my experience. Being involved in the family business, I almost literally dropped the “net” and followed. This was my biggest struggle. It was a “net” that I had a hard time letting go of and giving to God; “Should I leave the family business high and dry? What about my future in the family business? How would we provide for our family, and meet their needs?” It came to a point where I/we had to open myself/ourselves to a deeper trust in God’s plan. This decision led us to a point where we told the Bishop, of the Catholic Diocese of Whitehorse, that we would go wherever the greatest need was. This symbolized, especially for me, a letting go of that “net” of control and of our own plans. Moving to Telegraph Creek was also the first time we had ever been there, but what a glorious abandonment.
Our time here has already been filled with so many blessings; everyone here has been so generous and hospitable, we feel welcomed as a part of the community, we have had more time to spend with our children, and God has provided so much for us financially. We feel that the biggest blessing is being able to serve others and to be a witness to God’s love for us, as our ‘job’. I am, we are, in no way perfect, but continue to be open and active in my/our relationship with Christ, that He may transform my/our heart/s.
In sharing this I realize that we are not all called to serve in the church, as Denise and myself are, but in our relationship with the Lord He leads us to where He needs us. It is through this relationship with Christ that even something as simple as a smile or a “hello” can be ways of bringing Him to others.
I would encourage you today, even right now, to take a look at how you have been led through your relationship with God, or maybe you haven’t; either way, take some time to sit with this scripture passage (Mark 1.14-20) and envision yourself as one of the apostles, sitting in the boat, as Jesus asks you, “Come follow me.” And think about what nets you are being called to leave behind for Him.
The scripture readings for today;
Jonah 3.1-5, 10
1 Corinthians 7.29-31
…remind us that God wants to be a part of our lives, He can work amazing things when we are open to Him, and He is never very far away.
*Excerpt taken from: “The Better Part: A Christ-centred resource for personal prayer”, by John Bartunek