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Sep 29th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. How Fishermen Became “Fishers of Men”
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Saturday, 24 January 2009 13:08

W hen we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

       Mark 1:14-20
– Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, (15) and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel." (16) And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. (17) And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." (18) And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (19) And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. (20) And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zeb'edee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

Meditation by Larry Broding

T his week, Mark presented the call of the disciples, in the same way John presented the call last week. John saw evangelization as a process of personal witness, personal invitation, and discipleship from friend to friend. Mark, however, placed the call to discipleship in the public arena; it was made directly by Jesus. John emphasized the role of the disciple recruiting others. Mark emphasized the relationship of Jesus to the disciple.

Mark began with the arrest of the Baptist to introduce Jesus to public ministry. Jesus picked up the Baptist's theme. The Kingdom of God is immanent. Repent. Unlike the Baptist, Jesus did not proclaim the advent of the Messiah. He preached belief in the Good News. Soon, the preaching of the gospel would eclipse the expectation for God's chosen One. [1:14-15]

The Good News demanded a response. It was more than a moral turnabout. It meant a new life situation, a new relationship with God. For Mark, Jesus was the embodiment of the Good News. His preaching, his call, established this new relationship with God. Notice Jesus called four men and all four responded immediately (Mark's transition word used in 1:18 and 1:20). Leaving their livelihood and followed the preacher and presence of the Good News.

Much has been written about the social context for Jesus' ministry. Unlike John the Baptist whose ministry had a geographic location, Jesus took his ministry on the road. People came to see the Baptist, while Jesus came to the people. While John drew his congregation from Jerusalem and outlying areas, Jesus' ministry lay in the backwater countryside of Galilee. The Baptist got the attention of the leadership in Judaism, but Jesus did not encounter official criticism immediately.

These differences made the ministry of Jesus easier to ignore, but, ultimately, more dangerous to the leadership. Jesus was the leader of a group movement. In a culture with few social supports, people at the time of Jesus had to be self-sufficient. Hence, they would form a group for a common goal. Indeed, group identity and power became all important. Extended families would intermarry and form alliances for the common good. Governments (i.e., royal families) would contract with groups (i.e., local families and village cooperatives) to gather produce and bring it to market; in turn, the government would receive a large percentage of the profits. (Scholars speculate Peter, Andrew, James, and John belonged to government-sanctioned groups that fished the lake; tax records from first-century Galilee strongly infer such groups existed.) Even charismatic leaders would gather people together for a common end, economic, political, or religious. Like the rest of society, Jesus formed a group whose members moved from place to place (like an army). Peter, Andrew, James, and John were among the first to partake in the mobile ministry of Jesus.

However, the message of Jesus proved to be as threatening as his means. In a static culture that did not change from generation to generation, Jesus preached something new. God would come and change everything. For their own reasons, the first four disciples left the safety of their group (family and friends) for the challenge of a new life based on this new message. They responded to the call of Jesus, for they wanted to live with Jesus. The call of Jesus was more important than any security, any relationship, any possession they had.
Why a Sacrament of Reconciliation after Baptism?

W hy is there a Sacrament of Reconciliation after Baptism? To answer that question, we need to ask: why do we sin after baptism? The Catechism states: ". . . the new life received in Christian Initiation (i.e., Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist) has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence . . . "

The message ("Repent and believe the Good News") and call of Jesus ("Come and see") are actually one. To have a personal relationship with God's Son requires a constant spirit of repentance and faith in the gospel. While the key moment of repentance and personal faith in Jesus is Baptism, our response many times falls short. Many times, we need to renew our moral conversion and our faith choice. We need to experience the loving touch of God's mercy. The Sacrament of Reconciliation provides us such a time and such an experience.

How has your life changed when you chose to believe in Christ? How have you renewed that choice? "Follow me." The invitation Jesus gave his early followers is the same he makes to us now. He invites us to change and believe. We need to realize he not only gives us the challenge, he gives us the means to abandon our former life of sin and to trust in God. He gifts us with the Spirit. So, the call of Jesus is not only a direction; it is a helping hand. Human frailty may trip us from time to time, but the Lord will not disappoint. When we follow the Lord, he leads us and sustains us.

Try to look at your life this past week through God's eyes. Write down your spiritual successes and failures. How has God helped you with your successes?

How have you disappointed God with your failures? Pray God renews your commitment to his Son this coming week.

Supplementary Reading

The Strength of Brokenness - by Os Hillman


The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. ~ 1 Samuel 2:4

T here is an oxymoron throughout the Bible. It says that brokenness is strength. How can this be? How can brokenness be strength? In order to use men and women to their fullest extent, the Lord has to break His servants so that they might have a new kind of strength that is not human in origin. It is strength in spirit that is born only through brokenness.

Paul was broken on the Damascus road. Peter was broken after Jesus was taken prisoner. Jacob was broken at Peniel. David was broken after his sin with Bathsheba. The list could go on of those the Lord had to break in different ways before they could be used in the Kingdom.

When we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength. Then, new strength emerges that God uses mightily. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Do not fear brokenness, for it may be the missing ingredient to a life that emerges with a new kind of strength and experience not known before. Pray for a broken and contrite heart that God can bless. # # #


Many who plan to seek God at the 11th hour, die at 10:30 :-(    -Author Unknown


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Last Updated on Saturday, 24 January 2009 13:15

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