Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. Matthew 4:18-22
What did Peter, Andrew, James and John really leave behind? They left their business and for James and John they also left their father.
St. Gregory the Great , commenting on Verse 18 asked, “how much could poor fisherman really leave behind? – That person has left behind a lot who keeps nothing for himself, who, though he has little gives up everything.” We tend to be attached to those things that we own. Can we like them renounce earthly desires? Can we show ourselves to be people of character?
The sons of Zebedee leaving their father may be the most important detail of this gospel reading. For the disciples, the call to follow Jesus means literally leaving the family and the family business.
Today, on father’s day, we can recognize many things but at the very least we see that the disciples were setting out to become fathers. Parents of the church, fathers to the lost. They answered the call to maturity to taking their place in the family and bringing about maturity in those under their care. The call today for all of us is to maturity in Christ. The call today is to imitate the disciples as they answered the call to spiritual maturity. If we were looking for the main theme in the New Testament it would be maturing in Christ.
Brethren do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes but in understanding be mature.” Understanding, wisdom is suffered not studied this comes through a personal experience of communion with Him. For many of us this personal experience happened at camp. 1 Corinthians 14:20
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-15
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. Hebrews 5:12-13
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. What is the primary spiritual exercise to open up spiritually to open our ears to hear God, to grow spiritually? It is no secret, St. John Chrysostom said that the primary spiritual exercise is the study and knowledge of the scriptures. 1 Peter 2:2
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
First step is some ongoing personal interaction with Christ in our hearts and minds. Beginning in our baptism when we are buried and resurrected with Christ and then is renewed in the sacraments and our life of prayer (often this is jump started at camps and retreats). Would you say that Jesus is the main source of nutrition of your life?Are you built up in him? Are you well taught and grounded in the teachings of Christ? Is gratitude the main characteristic of your life?
We are all being called to be fathers. To growing in maturity so that we can lead others.
Someone once said, “The disciples left behind their vessel that they become helmsmen of the Church, they left behind their nets to no longer bring fish to the an earthly city but people to the heavenly city and left behind their father, that they might become parents of all.