Today’s Gospel presents this scene for us: “As he was walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and his brother, Andrew, who were casting nets into the sea. They were fisherman. He said to them, ‘Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets
and followed him.”

There is much to think about in this calling of Simon and Andrew – such a radical move to leave what they were familiar with –and their father – to follow this itinerant preacher. We don’t know what preceded this, but it seems that they were ready to begin this new life even though there were many unknowns and questions connected wit their action. This gives us encouragement to follow Jesus even more closely and leave behind what are our doubts and insecurities.

Next weekend, we will celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This feast rarely falls on Sunday, but this year we will celebrate it over the weekend. In the Jewish culture, this was the dedication of the firstborn son to the Lord. In the day’s Gospel, we meet Simeon, in the temple, who declares that this child is to be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” A “light” for both Jew and Gentile is to be his vocation. This is a rather unusual statement: a light for the Gentiles? Simeon knew what he was saying. We celebrate this pronouncement this weekend. This feast was often called “Candlemas day.” It occurs 40 days after Christmas and candles were blessed on this day for use in church and in homes. The lighted candle symbolizing Jesus the light of the world.

-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.