Saint Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial) and First Week in Ordinary Time

 

They left their father . . . and followed him. 

 

Do you remember your teenage years, when you used to be able to sleep through a blaring alarm clock?   But for those of us who became parents, the slightest noise from our little children made us jump out of bed to check on them.   What made the difference?   Simply this:   at his birth, that little baby found his way into our hearts and has been there ever since.   Ask any parent, and they will tell you that a day doesn’t go by without them thinking of their children—and often worrying about them.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 1:20), we see Peter, James, John, and Andrew all drop what they were doing to follow Jesus.   One invitation from him, and they spring into action, much like the way parents spring into action at the sound of their children.   How did that happen?

Well, it wasn’t magic.   It probably wasn’t even the first time they had encountered Jesus.   As he usually did, Mark used as few words as possible to describe a much longer process:   “Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God” (1:14).   He could well have been in Galilee for quite a while before he called these disciples.   He could have spent days or even weeks talking about the mercy and salvation of God.   He could have spent hours with them, preparing them to make a decision.   So he could have already found his way into their hearts by the time he called them to follow him.

Of course, we don’t know what made the disciples so responsive to Jesus’ call.   But we do know that they were willing to follow him, haltingly at first, but more and more faithfully as the years went by.   This mirrors our own experience.   The more time we spend with Jesus, the more he finds his way into our hearts.   Our bond with him deepens.   We become more convinced of his love for us, and his will for us becomes sweeter and more attractive.   Most important, we begin to love him back.   We find that he has captivated our hearts, and we become more willing to move when he calls us.

Jesus has a beautiful plan for you; come close to him today and let him help you embrace it more deeply.

“Lord, give me a willing heart so that I can follow you more closely.”

1 Samuel 1:1-8
Psalm 116:12-19

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