Third Sunday After Epiphany - Year B
very first words of Jesus when he met Simon Peter and his brother Andrew on the
shores of the Sea of Galilee were "Follow
me, and I will make you a fisher of men."
Most of you knew that before - and if you didn't - you heard them read
today from the first chapter of the Gospel According
how many of you know what the last words of Jesus to Simon Peter were?
also spoken down by the waters of the sea of Galilee - just before Jesus was
taken up into heaven?
- this is a bible test... something for you to think about - but to have mercy -
I will give you the answer.
very last words to Peter, words spoken just before he was taken up into heaven,
words spoken after Peter and the others had been his daily companions for three
years, were virtually the same as the first:
"Feed my sheep, Follow me."
calling - the calling of every single person here - and the call that is
extended to all of God's children is the same as that of Peter.
me and I will make you fishers of men.
me and feed my sheep.
have a fold calling - you and I. We are called to be disciples - to be ones who
walk with Jesus and who learn from him and we are called to be apostles
- to be ones who go forth and in the particular way that God gifts us
for, act as Christ's ambassadors in the world - to be ones who allow Jesus to
speak through us. To be ones who minister God's reconciling love to the world,
to be one's who bring God's word of forgiveness and of hope, God's life giving
word to all who need it.
first aspect of our call is to enter into a relationship with Jesus that is one
of complete and utter trust. To come to him as he asks us to come and to give to
him our weariness, our burdens, our anxieties, and to receive from him those
things he wants to give us, peace, hope, joy, truth, love, strength, wisdom, to
come to him, and to follow him where-ever he leads; even if it be to a cross.
- To come to him and to learn from
To come to him and to live in him - and have him live in us.
To come to him and to be made new by him and in him.
is not an easy thing.
- not because Christ is unable to
bear our burdens and to give us rest, nor
because Jesus does not have the power to make us new and turn us into
the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
is not easy, because it demands of us more than most people are willing to give.
demands discipline, single-mindedness, a determination to indeed make Christ the
centre of our lives.
demands of us the resolve to do those things that our Lord asks us to do, to go
where-ever our Lord leads us - even if that involves leaving behind things
precious and dear to us - even if that involves doing things we think we can't
do - or wish that we would not have to do.
benefits, my friends, of the Christian life, can only come if we actually live
the Christian life, if we actually follow Christ where he went and learn and do
what Christ taught and did.
prayed every day - indeed he prayed continually.
went to the synagogue to worship and to learn every week.
Christ allowed his meals to be interrupted and his time of relaxation to be
interfered with by the hungry, the crippled, and the needy.
this few, relatively little things I have lifted up, describe our lives?
In whole? Or even in part.
one, as Paul puts it in another place in his letter to the Corinthians, can win
the prize if he doesn't run the race. No
one can receive the crown of victory - if he doesn't persevere to the end of the
as Jesus said - "No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate
the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the
other." Jesus spoke those words about choosing between God and Money; but
they apply to every area of our lives. We
either serve God - we either follow Christ - or we follow after the desires of
our own hearts.
call to be disciples and our life as disciples is perhaps best described as a
choice - a choice between living like everybody else, or living in the way
Christ shows to live: living in the way of the cross - knowing that the this
will lead us as well to the resurrection.
and Andrew, James and John and all the rest were told over and over again by
Jesus that they must chose and that all who would follow him must choose: that
they must chose between seeking to save their lives - between pursuing their own
desires and wants - and the cross, his cross.
Apostleship flows forth from our discipleship.
who are called to follow are also sent forth, they are given a ministry - what
Paul calls the ministry of reconciliation and told variously:
feed Christ's sheep
fish for men
be Christ's Ambassadors,
allow God to make his appeal to all humankind through us.
is not a hard thing - though it may involve hardships - This is not a difficult
thing - though it may involve difficulties.
as I said, flows forth from our discipleship; it flows forth from the fact that
as we follow Jesus we are made new in him, by
his power we are equipped and made ready to do all that we are
called to do, we are made to be, as Paul puts it in our epistle reading
today, "the righteousness of God"
we are made to be people who embody the saving love of God - and who
we join God's team - when we follow Christ day by day, God equips us, God
empowers us, God uses us, God supports us, God helps us.
are all called to the ministry of reconciliation, and we are all equipped to
discharge that ministry.
are made, by the power of Christ within us, to be the salt of the earth,
are made, by our daily choosing to follow Christ, the light of the world.
of us are called - each in our own way - to follow and to serve.
of us are called - each in our own way - to be made new in Christ, and
allow Christ to speak through us, to allow God to act within us and to reach out
and touch others using our hands - our hearts - our words.
we follow Christ we learn from him and obey him, when we allow him to come in
and live in us and then go out and carry him to the world great things happen -
no matter who we think we are - or who others might think us to be.
the dark night of the soul that our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers,
might be experiencing, the light we have, because we are disciples of Christ,
because we are followers in his way, might be the most important thing in their
are called to let our light shine.