14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
I am not very happy with my job in a customer service call center, I don’t like being so poorly paid, and will complain about how unhappy I am that this is where I wound up after spending 23 years in school, gaining two degrees, and having over 30 years of business experience!
I have been trying to make a change…but sometimes I just feel too worn out and discouraged to keep surfing the “Careers” pages, and I would love it if change would just ‘happen’ (like so much of my bad luck seems to have just happened).
When I read today’s Gospel I felt more than a little jealous of the disciples: to be picked by Jesus to do something important, something that would change the world, and then just be able to walk away from their back-breaking work as fishermen to follow him! It would be great to be able to just leave my job to go and do something ‘significant’!
However, it is important to remember that the disciples did not really know what they were getting into when they heeded the call of Jesus…as the call they were following was not the an easier, softer way, but a hard road that that led them to as much hardship as it did to joy!
As it turns out the grass is NOT always greener:
Recently, a pastor I know went on a mission trip to a small island near Indonesia…it sounded like a great opportunity to do something important that would help others…and I was a bit envious, as I could picture myself working with those in need, a self-less hero, aiding and enlightening the people with my great wisdom and faith (not to mention with a giant ego)! However, her trip was NOT a vacation! She told us that there was a lot of work to do and also t of hardships to endure: it was a dry island, so most of the water had to be imported, there were few amenities, heat, and thre was crushing poverty everywhere she went; and the trip was not one-sided as she learned as much from the people of the island as they learned from her!
And here is a lesson we can take from this Gospel story: that we are called to do mission wherever it is needed! As most of us don’t have the time or opportunity to go abroad for a mission trip, we find that we are called to mission right we are, in the midst of our busy lives, while we are working, struggling to pay bills, raising our kids, and learning to live with others through sharing Gods love through showing others compassion, forgiveness and acceptance…especially those who really piss us off!
As single parents, we can see that one of the missions we are called to is raising our children, and this is a responsibility that can take up much of our compassion and patience, as well as faith and love. There are times when our kids will be the ones who really piss us off, the ones who frustrate us, giving us reason to doubt ourselves, and to be very afraid! With all of the challenges we face while raising our children, it can be easy to forget that this mission IS something ‘significant’, as while the love we share is our gift to them, they are our gift to the future!
This does not mean we need to raise perfect kids…that would be impossible, but our mission is more like that of the disciples: to teach our children, as well as to leaarn from them…for as we share our faith we together we plant the seeds of faith, responsibility compassion and mission within them; what they do with these seeds is often out of our hands…but if we plants these seeds with love, they will eventually grow!
My parents planted these seeds with me, and then I broke their hearts when it seemed that these seeds fell on fallow ground, as I sank deeper and deeper into addiction…yet it was these very same seeds that saved me from dissolution as it was a leap of my faltering faith that brought me to sobriety and let me see that the light of God’s love never left me, but surrounded me even when all seemed dark: I just had my eyes closed to it!
I am grateful that I got sober in time to tell my parents how much they helped me; but they had to wait a long time to hear it…and so might we…but eve if it is not always obvious, the work, love and sacrifice we give as we follow this call to raise our childen is never wasted, as the light of our love can shine through any darkness, as this is also the light of God’s love in action!!!
So just for today, in the midst of our busy, frustrating and often un-excitng lives, let us be grateful for beiing called to a great mission in life: raising children as single parents! Let us alo be grateful that we do not follow this call alone, but like the disciples, we take on this mission together, with other parents, family, friends and strangers who help us along the way! And most of all let us be grateful that like the fishermen, we too follow this mission in the presence of Jesus, who teaches us love and hope and compassion, and supports us as we carry the light of God’s love into our dark world both today and in the future…as we pass this light on to our children!
When we follow the call of Jesus, we discover that wherever we are is the right place to be…because whenever we are following this call, Christ is in our midst and we are in the mission field…right where we are: at work, at home, out in the wilderness of our world!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, we thank you for calling us to be parents, please let us never get so frustrated or overwhelmed that we forget what a gift having children can be! Help us to follow your call to mission by sharing our faith with others, especially our children, and not to lose hope when it seems like they are not listening! Let us have faith in the power of your love to plant seeds which can sprout at any time, transforming and restoring with the light of your love. Help us to see this light in the lives of our children and in our own lives as we seek to make Christ known right here, where we are…in the midst of our own lives!