Let Jesus Interfere in Your Life
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men!”
Rick was hurrying down the busy street to an important business meeting.
Suddenly, a voice interferes and catches his attention, “Can I have something for my file, mister?”
Rick suddenly and instinctively turned around to see who was talking to him. The grimy box under the man’s arm gave him away immediately. Definitely a crazy, Rick thought. Crazies are always carrying something, usually a shopping bag, or pushing a cart of some sort.
Rick then repeated the old lie that so often came out automatically; “Sorry, no money!”
But the man asked again, “Have you got anything for my file?”
Rick fished through his coat pocket for some piece of paper that would satisfy the poor soul’s delusion. He found an old travel brochure and handed it to him.
“No!” he shouted. “I don’t have a file for that.”
While Rick fished around for something else, the man said. “I’m Howard. What’s your name?”
Uhh, “Rick.” That one syllable was all he would offer — because Rick did not want to risk any more involvement than that.
“I’m sorry, I have to go,” Rick said, and hurried off. As he looked behind him, he saw Howard scratching something on a dirty scrap of paper.
A few days later, Rick was walking down the same street. An ambulance, its warning lights glaring, blocked the corner. Two EMTs were desperately treating a man dressed in rags and covered with blood. But their efforts were hopeless. A policeman questioned some people who had witnessed the accident, but no one knew anything. “Did anybody know this guy?” the policeman asked the crowd who had gathered.
“His name is Howard. That’s all I know,” Rick offered. Then he backed away like everyone else, as if knowing the crazy’s name made him crazy, too.
“Well, at least there’ll be a name for the headstone. Thanks for your help,” the policeman said. “Oh, by the way, would you take this for me? I’d like to skip the paperwork on this one.”
The policeman then shoved into Rick’s hands the box Howard was carrying.
“Why would I want this guy’s garbage?”, Rick complained!
Looking for a trash can, Rick started looking through the contents of the box. You never know, Rick thought. But there was nothing in the box except some old clothes and a file folder.
The crude printing on Howard’s file folder read Friends. Inside the folder labelled “Friends”, Rick found a single scrap of paper. On it was scribbled one word – “Rick”.
Today, we hear about Jesus beginning to preach and the calling of His first disciples.
In these verses St. Mark describes how Jesus called some of those who would later form part of the Apostolic College. From the start of His public ministry in Galilee the Messiah seeks co-workers to help Him in His mission as Savior and Redeemer. He looks for them among people who are used to hard work, people for whom life is a struggle and whose life-style is plain and simple. In human terms they are obviously at a disadvantage as compared to many of those to whom they will preach; but this in no way prevents their self-surrender from being generous and free. The light lit in their hearts was enough to lead them to give up everything. A simple invitation to follow the Master was enough for them to put themselves completely at Our Lord’s disposal.
It’s Jesus who chooses them: Jesus interfered in the lives of the Apostles just as, Jesus interferes in ours, without seeking our permission and perhaps taking us off-guard: He interferes in our lives because He is our loving and merciful Lord and Savior.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, a renowned theologian and philosopher once wrote that God is often found not necessarily in people but between people. When you and I are truly attuned to each other, God comes down and fills the space between us so that we are connected, and not separated. Both love and true friendship are more than a way of knowing that we matter to someone else. But more importantly, they are a way of mattering to the world, bringing God into a world that would otherwise be a valley of selfishness and loneliness.
As Rick discovers in my opening story, sometimes God can be found in a simple moment of acknowledging another person’s basic dignity and presence. Since we are all equal in the eyes of God, Jesus’ call to the fishermen to be His “fishers” is also our call to help one another discover the mercy of God between us, despite the silk ties and rags that differentiate us, and despite the portfolios and grimy boxes that separate us. We are all equal in the eyes of God!
Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!