As Jesus passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew cast their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Times change, and some insignificant things change with it, like nets and boats.
Two thousand years ago, the Lord called two fishermen, Simon and Andrew. He told them to follow him, and they did. They left behind more than just their father, their careers, their nets and boat. They left behind everything.
Yes, things change. Today, most men called by God do not leave behind their boat or net. Instead, they leave behind their car and their College degrees, but they still leave everything.
Was it easier back then? Are we to believe it was easier in 30 A.D. to leave behind your family, home, your loved ones, your possessions and “safety nets” to follow the Lord? I hope not. Like I said, some things change with time; and some things never change, regardless of the times we live in. The Lord demands from his Apostles commitment and fidelity. Is it hard to do? You bet! Is it a tremendous sacrifice? Yes! But so is raising children and spending thousands of dollars a year for private education or medical expenses! So why do we do it? Because this is what the Lord demands. Marriage has never been easy. So what will we do? Water it down? Modify it? Re-define it? Why in the world would we do that? After all, this is what makes married life, family life and the priesthood so attractive! It’s also true of being the Captain of a ship!
Oh the romance of sailing around the world! How romantic it must be to be a Captain of a large vessel. Imagine for a moment the glamour of wine-ing and dining with guests and super models! But the honor of being a Captain does not rest on this. It rests on what a Captain does when his ship is going down. What do Captain’s do? Tradition has it that they remain on board until the last passenger is off. Have we become so modern that we no longer need to demand this of them? Are we to think that this is the stuff of silly traditions and nostalgia? No! Virtue is timeless. Sacrifice, perseverance, fidelity, commitment, honor, honesty will never go out of style. But I am sure that some will start asking for a change. Just as others have been asking for a change in the priesthood and marriage!
Recently, a family sent me a “Dear Abby” letter that was published on December 23rd, 2011. It reads:
“Dear Abby: I have been in a relationship with “Anita” for four years. She moved in with me two years ago and our home life has been wonderful. We are a “unique” couple. We have discussed marriage, but neither of us believes in tradition.
I’d like to show Anita how much I love her, as well as show others we’re in a serious relationship...
Can you suggest a symbol…to show unity without indicating the eventuality of marriage?”
I wish this young man had asked me. I would have written to him saying:
Dear son in Christ. I have a wonderful idea for you. If you want all your friends to see that you are serious about this relationship, then why not invite and bring all your friends and family together in a Church, and say to your girlfriend something like, “Dear Anita, I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life!” And maybe, just maybe, as a symbol of your love, you could give her a ring!
Well, the politically correct and terribly predictable Abbey wrote back: “Why not give Anita a wristwatch engraved with, “Love you till the end of time.” Or “…’till time runs out.’”
How pathetic! How corny! It is amazing what people will do to avoid honesty, commitment and fidelity!
The Lord’s commands will never change. Our fears will never change. Instead of demanding a break from tradition, we should be praying for courage and strength.
We know the Way of the Lord, it is always the road less traveled. Now, we must ask for the virtues necessary to follow Him!
Captains die for their passengers. Husbands die for their wives. Moms and dads die for their children. Priests die to themselves. Christ dies for us, all of us! This is what makes life thrilling, beautiful, meaningful, sacred, holy and heroic!
Some things will never change.