Monday of the First Week

Readings

ROM 10:9-18

MT 4:18-22

Reflection

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Ordinary.
Ordinary people.
Ordinary work.

When Jesus set out to proclaim the Kingdom of God he did not look to the rich and powerful for assistance, rather he reached out to ordinary working people, fishermen, performing ordinary tasks, tasks they must have performed hundreds of times in their lives: “casting their nets into the sea,” and “mending their nets.” Ordinary. But their response was extraordinary; all four left to follow Jesus without hesitation; “at once they left,” and “immediately they left.” They left their ordinary lives to pursue Jesus’ extraordinary mission through ordinary means.

But what is ordinary? Too often “ordinary” masks the extraordinariness of our lives. We begin to take for granted the miracle of the world and of our lives, of our friends and of our work. We become so used to the good things of the world that we come to consider them ordinary. In the old television show Joan of Arcadia in each episode God appeared to Joan as a different person. On one episode God came as a school janitor. Joan is skeptical. She asks, “If you’re God show me a miracle.” The janitor points to a tree. Joan responds, “It’s a tree. So what?” God responds, “You try making one.” The ordinary has become extraordinary once more. 

What has become ordinary in our lives? What do we take for granted? The pandemic has made these questions all the more intense as day bleeds into day, as our normal patterns of life are disrupted, and the ordinary becomes ever more ordinary, and the extraordinary is accepted as ordinary (the rising death toll becoming routinely accepted, while families grieve their losses). 

Where is Jesus calling us? Where is he leading us? How will we respond? Will we follow at once? 

We are (extra)ordinary people called to perform (extra)ordinary acts to proclaim the extraordinary good news—the Kingdom of God is at hand, God’s Kingdom of Love approaches. Let us be about our (extra)ordinary vocation. 

Jeffrey M. Burns