November 30, 2020
by Michael Kavan
Creighton University's School of Medicine
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
Lectionary: 684

Romans 10:9-18
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
Matthew 4:18-22

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After reading Paul’s letter to the Romans as part of today’s readings, I could not help but focus in on the first line – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” He goes on to say that as long as we have faith God’s kingdom is open to all. What a beautiful and inviting message.  Speaking of inviting, today’s Gospel from Matthew emphasizes the importance of being open to God’s invitation to follow. As Matthew writes, Jesus is walking along the Sea of Galilee and sees Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea. Jesus invites them to follow him and become “fishers of men.” He continues walking and sees James and his brother John who are in a boat with their father mending their nets. Jesus called them as well and they followed.

What would compel someone to drop everything (their relationships, family, job) to follow this itinerant preacher whom which they knew little to nothing about. Imagine the amount of faith it would take to do the same. We begin to see how hard it is, at times, to accept the invitation to hear and then to follow Jesus. When we reflect on our own lives, how difficult would it be for us to drop everything including family, friends, job, and so forth to follow Jesus? Maybe it’s just a rationalization, but I don’t think we are being asked or are expected to leave those things behind. But I do think we are being asked to consider what we need to leave behind in order to eliminate the static and to better hear and then follow God’s word. Sure, these could be possessions – the bigger house, the newer car, more of this or more of that, but I also think about the value of leaving behind grudges, resentment, and jealousy toward others, anger directed outward or inward, addictions – and anything that impedes our ability to hear God’s word and then to follow accordingly.

Do me a favor – and I promise, I am doing the same now as well – take a moment to close your eyes, take a deep breath to clear your head, and reflect on what we can “leave behind” in order to improve our ability to hear the word of God, enhance our faith, and better follow the example that Jesus sets for us.

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