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An Urgent Call

The four Gospels each tell us different things about how Jesus called his first Apostles. In both Mark and today’s passage from Matthew, Jesus simply turns up at the seashore and rather abruptly calls Peter, Andrew, James and John away from their fishing boats. And they immediately drop everything and follow him. In Luke, Jesus first uses Peter’s boat as a platform to preach to a large crowd. Then he gives Peter and his co-workers a miraculous catch of fish before he calls them. Finally, according to John’s account, John the Baptist points Jesus out to Andrew. After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew is so excited that he brings his brother Peter along to meet him. Other friends of theirs join Jesus soon after. Which of these versions are we supposed to believe?

Most Biblical scholars feel that the various stories should be seen as complementary rather than contradictory. Some of the disciples might have joined Jesus very impulsively because they were swept along by his charisma and burning sense of mission. Others might have needed, first, to hear his teaching and/or see a miracle. Finally, some might have gone to Jesus initially mainly because other people encouraged them to do so.

What’s important, ultimately, is not exactly how someone receives Christ’s call, but how they respond to it. Even today, a lot of people still live in the darkness that Isaiah was speaking about in our First Reading. Jesus calls each and every one of us to share the light of our faith with them. We should ask ourselves this weekend if we’re really embracing this mission the way we should be.

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