Community Reflection: Responding to the Call
By Katie Mulembe, Catholic Volunteer Network
“Do not be afraid! From now on you will bring in people instead of fish.”
We are most familiar with Mark and Matthew’s accounts of the calling of the disciples, and these are quite simplified versions. All we really know from those accounts is that Jesus bumped into a couple fishermen during his walk along the seashore and asked them to abandon their livelihoods to follow him. Without hesitation or clarification (as far as we know), the fishermen dropped their nets and became followers of Jesus. If we look to this story for inspiration as we discern our own vocations, we may end up a little lost. We have to wonder - could it really have been so easy for Simon and Andrew to drop everything and say yes to Jesus’ call? Didn’t they have doubts? Didn’t they need some time to think it over first?
Fortunately, Luke’s version of the story gives us a little more insight. He tells us that before Jesus popped the question, he wanted Simon and Andrew to experience firsthand the miracles they would later perform together. After bringing their boats ashore after a long and disappointing night at sea, Jesus asked these weary fishermen to sail out once more. Being well-trained in the trade, Simon and Andrew knew that this was the time of day when they were least likely to catch any fish. Furthermore, Jesus, a carpenter, was not a skilled fisherman himself, and probably not the best person to give advice on this subject. To their surprise, the catch that day was even larger than their two boats could handle. Jesus convinced Simon and Andrew to follow him, not by explaining in detail what type of work they would do and what their lives would be like, but instead showing that he understands their needs and is able to provide for them.
As you approach the end of your service year, you may be seeking to better understand your own vocation. It is natural to feel some anxiety or fear about what the future holds at this stage. We live in a competitive culture, where resumes and social networks are often viewed as the mark of one’s value or place in society. You may be feeling the need to prove your worth to the world. However, our faith urges us to believe that God’s plans for our lives are not limited by these factors. The story of the calling of the Simon and Andrew is just one of many bible stories highlighting the unlikely path of discipleship. The message we can take away with us is that God may call us to places far outside of our comfort zone, into tasks we feel unprepared for, lands that are far from home, and friendships that help us grow into ways we never thought possible. We may not know the full itinerary at the onset of our journey – but we can trust that it is sure to be an amazing ride, and we are always safe in God’s hands.
Questions for Reflection:
- How has God provided for your needs in unexpected ways during your time of service?
- In what areas of your life are you struggling to trust God?
- Jesus met Simon and Andrew while they were experiencing disappointment after an unsuccessful night at sea – what disappointments have you experienced recently and how is God speaking to you through those experiences?
- How can you, as a community, better support one another in pursuit of your vocations?