We are given in today's Gospel reading Matthew's version of the calling of the first disciples: Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. Each Gospel writer has their own emphasis, their own spin so to speak. These callings are familiar to many of us who have heard, read, studied these passages for years. How do we make this telling fresh? How do we make it real and bearing on today's world, on our life?
Jesus begins his very public ministry in today's Gospel reading. He calls the first four of his close disciples traveling with them throughout Galilee, preaching, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, healing, curing many diseases and pains. And the crowds respond to him, thronging to him, wanting to be near something new, something important, wanting a change to their existence and their understanding of the world.
We know what happens. When the hard work starts, when the flashy miracles become passe, when Jesus' words become clear to them that change doesn't just happen but must be worked on, the crowds start to thin and people start to criticize. This is a familiar theme in human history, and can even be seen in what is going on in Washington, DC currently: the angst around healthcare and other "changes" being worked on.
The majesty and mystery of today's Gospel is in this very human story, of the Divine come among us, as one of us, who clearly shows that we cannot remain as we are, how we interact with one another, and that there is hard work involved in effectuating that change. And that there will be regular, and fierce, opposition to efforts to make those changes necessary to further the proclamation of the kingdom. It's the way of the world. Being true followers of Jesus enables us to further that proclamation: to do that hard work.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.