Many years ago in the early stages of my career, I was posted in Nepal, a country that despite its long history and natural beauty, is still struggling from high levels of hunger and poverty. Yet, the people are gentle, loving and unpretentious. Only those Nepalis that have been schooled in the U.K., or elsewhere in Asia have the tendencies to take advantage of their fellowmen, or so it seems. After settling down and getting a backgrounder in Hinduism and Buddhism, the country’s biggest religions; I tried to talk about Jesus and the Catholic faith to the top managers of our local brewery there. It was something risky I was told, but I did try to do it as a follower of Jesus.
When Jesus called the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, James and John; the fishermen left everything to follow Him right away. Jesus presence must have been so strong and powerful, such that they left their fishing business. We can’t read somewhere in the Gospel telling about their prior encounters with Jesus, but it is possible that they must have heard Him preach. Or they must have heard of Him from others, that we don’t exactly know.
In a deeper sense, there must be something in Jesus that moved their hearts and souls that made it hard for them to resist. When they responded to His invitation, they were fishermen and yet their identities didn’t change. They were given a peek of a deeper dimension of what it means to be a disciple and invited to embrace it.
Similarly, we are called to be His disciples. While not necessarily in the same league as the Apostles, we all have our responsibility in sharing the Gospel to others. We may not understand our roles in the Kingdom but we should not be afraid to ask the Lord, seek the Holy Spirit to grant us discernment so that we can understand ourselves and Jesus more intimately. In amazing ways Jesus will answer: the questions do not undermine our commitment, they deepen it. We just need to have that faith.
In these times of disunity, may we turn to the Lord in prayer, that He may heal us and bring new hope for the future. May we be reminded that we are called to follow Jesus Christ and share in spreading the Good News of salvation to others.
‘The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?’ (Ps. 27: 1)