“Come: follow me”, said the LORD.
“I will make you fishers of men.”
(Benedictus antiphon for the 3rd Sunday of the Year)
“At once, they left their nets and followed Him.” (
That was Peter and Andrew. A little later, He called James and John the sons of Zebedee, “…and leaving their father Zebedee in the boat … they went after Him” (
Jesus hadn’t worked any miracles when He called these young men – they had been disciples of John the Baptist, at least James, John and Andrew were; and they had heard John [the Baptist] say wonderful things about Jesus.
“He will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (
Mt 3:11). So, when He called them, they jumped to
answer. Their time with John the Baptist
was a preparation – a Novitiate of sorts – and they were ready.
‘Readiness is everything.’
Jesus’ call is imperative! Think of Matthew the tax collector. He would have heard Jesus preaching to the people on the seashore and seen His miracles. He must have longed to follow Him, but felt utterly unworthy as a despised tax collector.
Jesus passes by and says, ‘Follow me’ and Matthew straightaway jumps to follow Him.
Today we also have the Feast of the Conversion of
. St Paul
Here was Saul – a highly educated Pharisee, determined to put an end to this movement which seemed to him heretical. He had encouraged the killers of Stephen and had gone on to imprison men and women “followers of the Way” (cf
Acts 9:1-3). And
now he was on the way to Damascus
to catch the frightened followers there.
Ah! But wait, Saul!
The Church in Jerusalem, gathered around Mary, is praying.
I can imagine the disciples saying, ‘Let’s ask God to remove that Saul, before he destroys us all,’ and Mary saying, ‘No. Let’s ask God to change his heart from hatred to love.’
As Saul reached
Jesus appears in a great light.
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, Lord?”
“I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me.”
And what a change of heart came to Saul! He became one of the greatest lovers of Christ.
‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ (
No! We come through all these things triumphantly victorious by the power of Him who loves us, he tells us in his letter to the Romans.
It was the prayer of Mary and those first Christians gathered around her that brought about the change in “Saul, to Paul the greatest apostle of them all.”
Let us gather around her now
and pray for a change of heart in our leaders
who are trying to undermine the teaching of Jesus.