Gaudium et Spes, section 22, tells us that we get our identity from Christ: The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come,(20) namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.
When Jesus looks at the Apostles today, he doesn't see what they are, He sees what they can be, what they should be, and what they will be if they respond fully to Him. But all He can say is “Repent and believe in the Gospel; the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; Come and Follow me.” The rest is up to them: CCC 2002 - God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire...
Were Peter & Andrew, James and John, created to be fishermen? Were they created for more? You have to even wonder how they felt about their work (and how much they knew of Jesus) to just drop it all, leave it all behind and follow. Maybe it's normal for us to sort of hate work when we don't have a higher calling attached to it – Adam was told work would be hard, require sweat. But after following Christ, the work becomes lighter, easier, elevated to something higher.
We see in this Gospel that God calls us in our work. Priests of our own diocese were successful in the world in their own small ways: Dentist. Paintball factory. Businessman. Engineer from Purdue. Rocket Scientist. Notre Dame architecture student. Teacher.
God calls us them because of their heart: Chrys.: It is no small sign of goodness, to bear poverty easily, to live by honest labour, to be bound together by virtue of affection, to keep their poor father with them, and to toil in his service.
An interesting fact of today's calling is that that they were two sets of brothers. I wondered why this was so, particularly because it hits so close to home for me: Jesus called me, and my brother, at about the same time, to be fishers of men, priests. 2,000 years later, He still calls brothers!
Pseudo-Chrys.: He “called them” together, for by their abode they were fellow-townsmen, in affection attached, in profession agreed, and united by brotherly tenderness. He called them then at once, that united by so many common blessings they might not be separated by a separate call.
Brothers, when they get along, are a great sign of unity. And this is exactly what Saint Paul is trying to stress today in the beginning of his First Letter to the Corinthians: they are breaking up into factions, and are filling up with pride and jealousy, claiming Apollos, or Paul etc. as their "leader." Paul responds by using the name Jesus Christ ten times in the first ten verses. We are united, Paul stresses, in Jesus Christ - no one else; nothing else. Let us pray for that true unity among the entire Body of Christ, among all Christians.
And the way that Christ meets us to unite us is with today's call to conversion, to "repent". CCC 1989 - The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high.
Only if we convert our hearts are we able to be united in Christ Jesus, because only then do we allow ourselves to be transformed into Him, to become what we were created for; what He truly sees we can be.
Every Ash Wednesday we hear these words: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Every Sunday in the scriptures, indeed every day of our lives, Jesus calls us again: “Follow me” a little closer, leave behind things a little more completely.
In today’s Eucharist, as we meet Christ, let us abandon our old selves and follow our True Self who unites us by giving His Body and Blood for us.