Today we have lots happening as we get into the year again. One of the highlights for us here at MUC is our Blessing of the Backpacks service. It’s the time we stop and recognise the young people of our family who will be starting pre- school, primary or high school or university. We stop and pray a blessing for them as they commence the year, as well as praying for their parents and families.
We would usually include some of our older young people (read adults here) as they begin their work for the new year. This year I am really keen that we include everyone, including our even older young people, as we begin a year that will hopefully not be like the one we’ve just left but be a year of growth and opportunity for us all.
Last week our phrase was “Everything you do proclaims me” and this week it is “I am with you”. Our reading today tells of the time when Jesus’ new disciples were struggling to do what they would normally do for a living – fish. Jesus had been teaching the crowds from a fishing boat that just happened to belong to Simon Peter. When Jesus finishes his teaching, he encourages Simon to head out into deep water and start fishing. Simon tells Jesus that they’ve tried that, in fact were out all night trying their hand at fishing, but it just wasn’t their day. But because Jesus asked them, he will give it another try. Lo and behold they caught so many fish that their nets began to break. Simon Peter’s response to this miracle is to fall at Jesus’ feet and claim that he is not worthy of the attention this teacher was giving him and his partners. Jesus’ response was to declare that from now on they would be catching people. And so Simon, James and John all left their boats and all they knew and followed Jesus.
I would love to know, or perhaps the better way of putting this is experience, just what Jesus was like. What was it in him that meant that people left everything they had and followed him? It wasn’t just fishermen, it was tax collectors, religious leaders, soldiers, women, prostitutes and others who were on the outside of society. What drew Jesus to them and them to Jesus?
For me, this reading reminds me that no matter what our ‘profession’ may be, we are all called to be disciples of Jesus. It may mean leaving that profession behind and following, but it can also mean staying in that profession and taking the opportunities that are presented to us to be a disciple of Christ around others. So not only does “Everything you do proclaim me” but we also know that in everything we do Jesus says to us “I am with you”.