After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’ As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him. Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him. (Mark 1:14-21)
It’s thought that James and John, and so also their father, Zebedee, were relatives of Jesus. And so this incident is quite a family affair! Another set of brothers with whom they sail the sea in search of fish have already left their boat to follow Jesus. Soon each of them will be elevated among those numbered ‘The Twelve’. With a play on words, Jesus toys with the language of their work. He speaks so they can understand. Attuned to catching fish, he dares them use their skills to net people in a new way – for the kingdom of God is close at hand. This is just the beginning of their journey with him. Perhaps they have little idea how life will change for them, for us. They drop their nets at once and, some time in the days to come, they’ll take up a new tool of their new found trade. “Take up your cross and follow me,” they will hear him say. As for them, so for us. We’re in the same boat.
God our Father, the call of Jesus to follow him is given to us and all. Help us to be faithful disciples, to turn away from all that separates us from you, and to embrace your Kingdom of Love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.