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Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt like you just weren’t good enough? Maybe it was when you weren’t picked for a team at school or were bullied or it could have been when you were really into a special girl or a guy, but they just weren’t that into you. Maybe it was when you weren’t accepted into your top choice college or when you didn’t get that dream job. Whatever the situation was, chances are each of us has had a time in our lives when we felt like we just weren’t good enough. That time in our lives could be now or it could have been a long time ago and we’re still left with a residual feeling that we just aren’t good enough. If we understand the background of what the first four disciples went through leading up to Jesus calling them in today’s Gospel, we would understand that before they encountered Jesus, they probably felt like they just weren’t good enough. You see, as Jewish boys during the time when Jesus walked the earth, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John would have gone to the Jewish equivalent of elementary school. From there, only the best and the brightest were selected to go onto the Jewish equivalent of middle school and then only the very best and the brightest were picked to go onto the Jewish equivalent of high school. Then, from there, it was only a few of the smartest remaining chosen ones who heard the words of acceptance that every Jewish boy dreamed of hearing. The Jewish school rabbi would turn to these few chosen ones and say, “come after me.” Come after me to become my follower, to become my apprentice, to become my disciple. For those like Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John who did not make the cut, they would have been told by the rabbi that they just weren’t good enough and had to resign themselves to a working at whatever trade their father did for the rest of their lives. So on that day of rejection, they would have made their walk of shame home from the temple. As they walked home with their heads hung low to take up their family trade of catching fish, I’m sure this sense of feeling like they just weren’t good enough had to seem soul crushing. They each knew that their parents, especially their Dads, would have a look of disappointment in their eyes when they heard this news from their sons. Each day, when these four picked up their fishing nets for work, they were probably reminded that they just weren’t good enough. Then as they were in their boats one day, a call from a Rabbi named Jesus broke through their fog of despair. The first three words He spoke to them were words they once had dreamed about hearing from a Rabbi but they had long ago given up on the possibility of ever hearing. The three words that meant they were good enough and had been accepted into their dream job of being a follower of a rabbi. Jesus said, “Come after me.” As they stood in their boats, this call from Jesus changed everything for them. They knew in an instant that they were made for more, so each of them dropped their nets letting the source of their livelihood fall by the wayside. They relinquished their role as captain of their own ships as they got out of their boats. Some of them even left their Dad behind in their boats as they went to go follow Jesus. As they were getting out of their boats, I imagine them catching a glimpse of their Dad’s eyes and for the first time in a long time, they saw Him looking right at them with a sense of pride in his eyes. Imagine what that must have felt like to have the most important person who has ever walked the earth say these three words that let them know they are accepted, that they are good enough, that they have been called to the best job ever. The good news is we don’t have to imagine what it must have felt like for these disciples. The good news is that Jesus says these three words to each of us, letting us know we are accepted, that we are good enough, that we have been called to the best job ever. “Come after me” Jesus calls to each of us. He wants us to be part of His team, He wants us to be His friend, He wants an intimate relationship with us forever, He is hiring us for the best job ever … to be His disciple. No matter what else happens in our lives, no matter what difficult times or disappointments we may face, no one can take away from us what Jesus has given us. We are good enough … and so are our brothers and sisters. That’s why immediately after saying “Come after me,” Jesus continues His call to His disciples by saying “and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus realizes that there are so many others who are still floundering in the sea of despair, feeling like they just aren’t good enough. Jesus doesn’t want our brothers and sisters left behind feeling like this. Jesus wants us to help Him reach them, to fish them out of the sea of despair they are floundering in. Jesus wants them to hear these same three words that let them know they are good enough. This is the best job ever that each of us are called to do as a disciple. So let us think of a person in our lives who is floundering in this sea of despair right now. Maybe it is someone we know who feels lonely, someone whose boyfriend or girlfriend just broke up with them, someone who is being bullied, someone who was made to feel like they aren’t smart enough or attractive enough, or someone who was recently fired from their job or who was rejected when they applied for their dream job. Jesus wants us to invite this person to encounter Him. Jesus wants us to open our lips so this person can hear His call to “come after me.” Come after me to one of the activities in the bulletin to encounter Jesus who tells us that wherever two or three are gathered in His name, He is there. Come after me to sign up for a Bible Study after Mass today to encounter Jesus’ words in scripture. Come after me to reconciliation Tuesday evening to encounter Jesus’ mercy. Come after me to church to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, because it is in the Eucharist that nourishes us and strengthens that we can find the courage to make an invitation like this to the person in our lives who most needs to hear it. The good news is each of us are good enough to be a disciple of Jesus. The good news is the person in our lives who is floundering in the sea of despair is good enough also. The good news is we get to be the ones to tell them “Come after me.” 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B January 21, 2018 GospelMK 1:14-20 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

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