The Gospel reading for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Mark 1:14-20, narrates the calling of the first disciples. Jesus called Simon and Andrew while they were casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, performing the daily ritual that provided livelihood. Then he called James and John, Sons of Zebedee, Inc., junior partners in the family fishing business. All left their nets, and two left their father, to follow this one “proclaiming the good news of God.” Mark emphasizes their eagerness to follow by repeating the word “immediately.”
Jesus offers a rather vague job description to these who have left behind all they know how to do. He tells them that from now on they will be “fishing for people.” It is remarkable that they left the security of the known for the unknown, the rhythms of casting and hauling and mending for a mysterious new vocation. Evidently they sensed the spiritual authority and power of the one beckoning them, and they left all to follow him.
Jesus still calls people midstream in their lives, going a different direction, to change course and follow him. I give thanks for those who come to seminary from professions in pharmacy, engineering, dentistry, law, education, business, social work, and construction, to name only a few, because they have responded to his call. With faith akin to these early disciples, they entrust their future to the One who invites them to share the good news of God’s love for humankind. They, too, have left all to follow Jesus. Thanks be to God!
Molly T. Marshall