Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When I was the Jesuit vocation director for Kenya, I would sometimes have occasion to say to a candidate, “If you say the only reason you want to be a Jesuit is for the love of God, I don’t believe you and you’re surely deceiving yourself.” Maybe Peter wanted to get away from his mother-in-law or James and John were tired of working for their father. Maybe each thought following Jesus would be exactly the great adventure he was looking for.
All of our choices, most especially the big ones, are made for a variety of reasons, both loving and selfish, conscious and unconscious. And God uses all these motives to move us forward for good. How many priests can say that an early motivation for priesthood was foreseeing getting to dress in attractive vestments and saying Mass! One of the works of the lifetime for each of us is to become aware of all our motives, and to become more focused on and committed to the loving ones. In that way we will become freer to “do” the Reign of God.
—Fr. Terry Charlton, SJ, joined the Chicago province and now serves as assistant provincial in Eastern Africa. He is the co-founder and chaplain of St. Aloysius Gonzaga High School for AIDS orphans from the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Lord, we pray for your grace to examine our motives through the lens of Mother Teresa’s insight:
“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?”Please share the Good Word with your friends!