One weekend, I was grateful that I had the time to attend two Masses, one on Saturday evening and one on Sunday morning in two very different parishes to hear the Word of God. This meant that I was able to witness, listen and reflect upon two homilies, both dealing with the same Gospel passage and both reiterating the main call to Discipleship. The Gospel spoke about Simon and Andrew “abandon[ing] their nets and follow[ing]” Jesus upon hearing His call (Mark 1:14-20).
Now I’m not intending to delve deeper into the varied discourses and literature surrounding the subject matter of Discipleship, but I do intend to mentally gnaw and reflect deeper on one specific verse of today’s Gospel: “Then they abandoned their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18).
What really struck me whilst listening to both homilies is the recurring notion of reckless abandonment – a radical letting go of anything and everything – to follow The Lord. The implication for Simon and Andrew to drop their nets would be simply letting go of their job, their profession — indeed, letting go of everything that they have stood for and done in their lives. ‘Abandonment’ here, at least in the context of the Gospel for Simon and Andrew, would demand an abandoning of familiarity and an embracing of a future unknown.
Yet, this very uncertainty and unknown future was with Jesus Christ, and perhaps, that was all that mattered.
So that got me thinking and reflecting — what are the nets that I have in my life right now; what are the nets that I am holding on to? Nets of affirmation and societal approval? Nets of security and material desires? Nets of past hurts? Nets of people? Safety nets? Am I able to let go of these nets to follow Jesus when He calls me to do so? Am I able to have faith and believe that He has a plan for me, plans to give me a “hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)?
However, akin to Simon and Andrew, I too can only drop my nets and follow Jesus when I hear and heed his call. Therefore, I must first and foremost recognise Jesus’ call (that is, His personal call to me) amidst the waves of many other calls and distracting voices in the world today. But how does one do that? How does one recognise the voice of Jesus? In the context of my reflection today, I believe that inner stillness, prayer and extended time of meditation with the Blessed Sacrament would aid me in recognising Jesus’ voice and gentle promptings. Only in recognising His voice can I then answer His call. And only in answering His call to detachment and Discipleship can I then drop my nets and follow Him. (Click here for some book recommendations pertaining to prayer, interior freedom and stillness.)
What are my metaphorical nets that I have to let go in order to follow Jesus? What are the “no”s that I am required to say in order to say “yes” to Him?
© 2018 Christ Centered Conversations/Christopher Chok