Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’
From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.
He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.
The Gospel this coming Sunday, the 3rd in Ordinary Time, reminds us of the Lord’s call to men of Galilee, and people of all places and times to follow him.
Simon and Andrew, and James and John, leave their work and their homes to follow him.
Most us do not. We follow where we are. Our following takes a different form, more an imitation of Jesus’ way of life: especially of his love for the Father, and his love for his neighbour.
Either way of following, often enough, confronts us with real challenge and significant choices, moments, events, decisions which authenticate or which threaten to compromise our following.
Whether we seem to succeed or fail, his constant love expresses itself in his constant call to us: to come close, to follow, to live in communion, to share life with him.
The Call of Peter. St Peter’s Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris