Sweeping right

Calling disciples…

I have always liked today’s first reading – the story of how a young boy named Samuel was called to a life of service to the Lord. It was the only story I knew where a young child was the center, the protagonist, the “hero” of the story. I remember my Catholic school religion teacher telling me what I was supposed to learn from the story: always go to church – after all Samuel heard God’s voice in the temple. Always obey my parents and adults – Samuel did exactly what Eli, the temple priest, instructed. Always keep your heart open to God and then act – Samuel invited God to speak to him. Continue reading

Calling Disciples: command and promise

Calling disciplesFishing. 18 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.

Clearly Jesus is calling the disciples to a life with him. But every “calling to” is by default a “calling from” in some sense. Fishing was not as easy as getting a boat and having at it. Fishing was controlled by the “powers that be” in two ways. (1) Commercial fishermen worked for the royal family or wealthy landlords who contracted with them to provide a specific amount of fish at a certain time. They were paid either with cash or with fish. (2) Fishermen leased their fishing rights from persons called “toll collectors” in the NT for a percentage of the catch. The “tax” could be as much as 40% (see Malina & Rohrbach, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, p. 44). Continue reading