Wednesday, 1st Week of Advent     

            At the start of his mission, Jesus calls four fishermen to follow him: Simon and brother Andrew, then James and his brother John. He will make them “fishers of men.”

            The call is mysterious or even strange. Jesus does not consider their ‘qualifications’ and ‘credentials’. He does not measure their physical fitness, their mental aptitude, their social quotient. He does not worry and ask: “Can they learn? Can they follow instructions? Will they persevere?” He simply chooses them… he takes risks.

            That is how the Lord Jesus is with each one of us – he takes risks! The Lord chooses each of us, in a mysterious way, to be his disciple, to be his mission partner.

            I want to invite each of you to go back to the gospel passage, and using the prayer of imagination taught by St. Ignatius, imagine yourself being part of this gospel narrative. You hear Jesus calling the fishermen, speaking to them in terms they recognize. And Jesus calls you as well… calling you as you are… wanting you to use your skills and abilities to draw people to him… to experience his love… to know God’s great plan of salvation for all of us. You hear Peter, Andrew, James, and John responding… you see them leaving their boat and nets immediately to follow Jesus… to be with him, to live with him. Then, the Lord Jesus addresses you personally: “How about you, Nelson? How are you to respond?” “What is holding you back? What can you not leave?” “What is keeping you from following me immediately, freely and unreservedly?” “Do not be afraid, do not be ashamed to tell me.”

            In the middle of any ordinary day Jesus walks by – sees me, singles me out from the crowd, speaks to me, and invites me to follow him. What attracts me to Jesus? What helps me respond generously to him? Am I a close follower of Jesus? Or do I keep my eyes on him only occasionally? Let this Advent season lead us into confronting ourselves.

            Lord Jesus, grant me the deep, sincere desire to follow you and to be your mission partner. Amen.

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