Summary: When I have experienced the joy of God’s message, I offer it also to others who need it. But not with tricks or wrong methods, but inviting, attracting, luring and offering, just as God does it.
One evening, a social worker received a telephone call, saying that an old man had a fall on the way, as he went for a walk, and immediately needed help. The social worker called up his colleage, who was a voluntary helper, and asked him to come along. The colleage replied, “Wait a moment. I must see my calendar, ask my wife if I can come, must look at the TV program if I would miss any favourite program of mine, etc.” After he examined all such possibile hurdles, which took a considerable amount of time, he went with the social worker to help the injured old man.
Normally everyone has in everyday life goals, routines, tasks and more importantly many unfinished works. It is not that easy to leave all behind and follow a new call suddenly. But the message of the gospel passage, Mk 1.14-20, shows something quite the contrary. Although the endresult is not yet in view, they leave everything they had – their work, families, the very basis of their daily life and even their father – and immediately follow Jesus. Now on, they do not have a permanent home, they do not have their families with them, they do not earn for their living, they do not know how they would be accepted by people and they also do not know how long this new way of life would last. The presence of Jesus is all what they have. We will follow the importance of their action only when we admit that the way we look at our daily tasks is not at all different from the way they looked at their daily tasks until they were called by Jesus. Men in every age relate to their life exactly the same way.
A friend has told me once:”I am comfortable only in my house – with my family, my books, my little aquarium in the living room, the balcony with my little garden. Whenever I go out somewhere, I become restless and impatient, and I am happy again, when I am back in my house again. Once I have seen an injured man on the way. I could not help him, because I wanted to be home as early as I could!” But the question is: When our “Feeling-at-Home” becomes a hurdle to an ethical call, further, to a religious call, is this self-sufficiency good for our life? When we find ourselves attached to a room or a house which we like, or a way of life which we find comfortable, or an idea that serves my egoism, how can we claim ourselves to be christians? Jesus says, “Come and follow me!” This is a daily call. This call is a call to the wholeness of our humanity.
There is a lot of inhumanity, injustice, violence, domination, corruption, etc. in our societies. God calls us to call them to justice, love, peace, harmony, brotherliness and sisterliness and to cooperation with one another for common goals. If we are satisfied with the life in society, the danger is, that we will not be able to hear the call of God and will not be able to respond to God’s call. There is also inhumanity in our own lives. If we are happy and satisfied with our present way of life, and defend it, then we lose our ability to re-examine it in view of better changes and ask ethical questions to ourselves. We are called to be people “On-the-Way”!
To be on the way, especially towards a goal that has not yet become “my-own-goal”, requires a lot courage and confidence. That is why the “immediate response” to the call to discipleship is very important in the gospel. But that brings about a new way of life, a humane society, a new world order and the reign of God in the place of the reign of money, of power, of careerism, egoism and the expensive enjoyments sold ready-made in the markets. When we have personally experienced the joy and the saving harmony of God’s call, we would not keep this message to ourselves, but we would also bring it to others who require it. But not with tricks or wrong methods, not with threat or violence of any kind, but inviting, attracting, pursuading, offering, luring and convincing, just as God and Jesus do it. “Come, and follow me!”