Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jesus Forms His Team: During the World Cup

THIS WONDERFUL PAINTING was created in the 14th century by the Italian artist, Duccio di Buoninsegna. It is titled, Christ Calling the Apostles Peter and Andrew. The Gospel account is found in Saint Mark 1: 14-20.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: "The time has come; the kingdom of God is upon you; repent, and believe the gospel."
Jesus was walking by the shore of the Sea of Galilee when he saw Simon and his brother Andrew on the lake at work with a casting net; for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come with me, and I will make you fishers of men." And at once they left their nets and followed him.
When he had gone a little further he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in the boat overhauling their nets. He called them; and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, they went off to follow him.

The word proclaiming matters. It's not that Jesus is just talking about the kingdom of God  or teaching it quietly. He's announcing it! Remember the image of the medieval emissary who comes with a scroll to deliver an urgent message from the king? He stands where the whole populace will hear, unrolling the scroll and shouting out, "Hear ye! Hear ye!" 

And what Jesus is announcing is Gospel = Good News! Mired in media reports of false imprisonments, another war involvement, government instabilities, kidnappings, increasing global dangers - doesn't the world need some good news. Jesus has it: We're not living in get ready time, but the time is come ( NOW) - God's rule is fully here in the words and deeds of Jesus!

And Jesus says, "Come with me." He's forming his team. He's doesn't keep anything for himself but shares all he has. Come with me also means Jesus shares what he does. He wants us to join him in catching people for what's true. And what's true isn't the promises made on the labels or commercials of twenty competing tooth whitening products, or the reports offered on a dozen competing news stations, or the stances of politicians who hate each other's party agenda, or the opinions of a dozen "stars", or the books written by six different experts on the same subject.  But God's truth.

Notice too that these newly called disciples leave everything, including father, to go off with Jesus. There are Christians who do this literally: they own nothing and see their families very seldom. When Father Damian of Molokai left Belgium for Hawaii he waved from the ship knowing that he would never see his parents again.

But for most of us while the "dropping everything" is something else, the cost may be as dear. Jesus wants us to know the adventure of being his fellow travelers, (Come with me.) And good travelers learn to travel light. So the question is, "What do I need to drop so to be more free to accept the invitation of Jesus?"

  • most people need to drop resentment which weighs down the whole culture.
  • The nation's needs to drop its addictions
  • We might need to drop pride, which acts like it knows everything.
  • The need to drop the frantic pace and  frenzy which prevents an interior life
  • The need to drop the obsession with fun which keeps us superficial (the shallow shoreline)

In Buoninsegna's painting Peter and Andrew are plain workmen - hauling in the net not far from shore. Jesus is dressed in royal colors - his dark blue and gold trimmed mantle indicate he's not just a friend come to wave from the shore, but a God-man with a call, an invitation, a message from heaven. Wow! What about it?


  1. I want to be a part of Team Jesus. I accept the invitation wholly. I pray that I will be worthy follower.

  2. What a great reminder that we are all chosen to follow Jesus. Jesus handpicked his Apostles to follow him and to evangelize His message, but aren't we all his chosen people? To follow Jesus doesn't come without sacrifice, but the rewards are great. We all have the invitation, let us drop something and follow.

  3. You always given us something to think about. A challenge to contemplate. You are not afraid to tell us that being a disciple of Christ is not easy. Looking deep within ourselves can be a bit scary. But in truth, we need to hear this. Cast out the the things that keep us from God regardless of the effort it takes.

  4. What do I need to drop so to be more free to accept the invitation of Jesus? That's a good meditation. Better yet, helpful for an examination of conscience. Thanks