Sybil 2004

Gospel text

Mark 1: 14-20

14 After John's imprisonment, Jesus went to Galilee announcing the good news from God aloud: "The time has come for the world of God to begin to reach you. Let yourself be transformed by trust in this good news. "

16 As he was walking along the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew, his brother, throwing their nets into the sea. They were fishermen. 17 Jesus said to them, "Come! Follow me! I will make you become fishermen of human beings. 18 Immediately they left their nets to follow him. 19 And when he had walked a little, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who was on board in the process of arranging their nets. 20 He hastened to call them. And they, leaving their father Zebedee in his boat with all his employees, departed following Jesus.


An injury, so a call

Gospel commentary - Homily

Our mourning, the beginning of a vocation

When historians try to shed light on the journey of Jesus of Nazareth, they come to the conclusion that his cousin, John the Baptist, played a determining role in the discovery of his vocation: he was the one who awakened him by his preaching to that dream of new humanity which he bore and which was symbolized by his baptism; it seems that, at first, Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist as well as Andrew and Simon. But the Gospel of this day affirms something more: the arrest of John the Baptist, a real catastrophe, will lead him to fly on his own, to assume the role of leader and master. So a true mourning gives a new twist to his vocation.

I spoke about Jesus and the call he felt inside of him, a call that changed with events. But I could have talked about each one of us. Tell me, what unifies your life and gives it direction? When considering the thread of your life, what do you think is more important than others? What are your priorities? What is part of your desires and dreams? If you can answer these questions, it is because you have discerned in a way your vocation. Yet the answer you give today may not be the one you will give tomorrow. And you can realize now that some of the answers you have given in the past are not the ones you would give today.

First, what is call? There is a very subjective part involved in determining a call. For example, in the evangelical narrative of Lazarus and the rich, the latter never saw Lazarus or ever wanted to see him, and therefore never felt "called" anything to him. On the other hand, what did Laurie's dad, you know this child who died of lactic acidosis in Saguenay (Quebec), and this other child, Raphael, suffering from the same illness? With the support of his spouse, he toured the region, traveling through all cities, to make the population understand the seriousness of this typically regional disease: after the death of his child, he perceived a call to a mission.

Allow a personal example. I just learned that a division of 22 computer scientists that I just took responsibility is expected to disappear in about 5 years. Of course, as we are in government, a form of job security exists. But I will have to manage an immense change, to accompany people so that the transition is done in the most respectful manner, to find solutions so that what appears like a death becomes a place of growth. I dare to see in this situation that tears me a call that is addressed to me.

How this is related to the Gospel? For me, every human being is part of the people of God, the people of whom He is both Father and Mother. But there is more. "The time has come for God's world to make its presence felt, change your way of life and trust this good news," says Jesus. That makes all the difference. Jesus started on the roads of Galilee and began to challenge people when he interpreted his desire to change things as the sign of his Father, and that he believed that his Father would accompany him to the end. It's exactly the same for all of us. If I see things the same way as Jesus regarding calls made by the situations of my life, then I embark on the same adventure as his. And I can overcome all my fears.

Not all calls are of the same level. There is a difference between answering the call of a neighbor or friend during a move and the one caused by the love of a spouse that ends up in a marriage. Andrew, Simon, James and John left their work and their families to follow Jesus. The fact of not hesitating for a moment only accentuates how much they believed in the importance of this call and had the assurance of the support of God. Everything stems from our way of looking at things.

The last few months have been marked by the disaster of hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. In the midst of all these deaths and this catastrophe, some got up, because they felt challenged. We will probably never know their name. But they took the same road as Jesus and brought others on their way. May the Eucharist of this day be a moment of gratitude.


-André Gilbert, Gatineau, September 2005