“And at once they left their nets and followed him.”

Mark 1:18

Monday, 25 January 2021

Mark 1:14-20

Simon and Andrew hear Jesus’ invitation and literally abandon their nets and follow him. They heard the invitation, left the familiar and committed to following this itinerant preacher. There is no indication that they hesitated at all!

Maybe they were fed up and bored with their daily routine. Perhaps they had caught nothing and so were tired and open to a new adventure. Maybe they sensed something about Jesus, found him an attractive figure – from what they observed or had heard – which drew them to leave their livelihood and follow him immediately.

There might be another reason too: Perhaps they were searching for deeper meaning and purpose in their lives and had a sense that this invitation was one that would lead them to discover what that meaning and purpose was.

We don’t’ know exactly what went through their minds, but we do know that once they heard the invitation, they committed to following Jesus – no questions asked!

The onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic has led many people to think about the meaning and purpose of their lives. Perhaps you too have experienced that. The imminence and reality of death are foremost in our consciousness as we are confronted daily by the deaths of loved ones, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. The pandemic that we are living through has changed everything that is familiar. But it has also forced us to rethink our values, priorities, and how we might best use our energy. Hidden in its horror is an invitation to abandon the familiar – which could be anything like negative attitudes that we might cling to or perhaps even past negative experiences and hurts that we have not let go of – so that we can live our lives to the full. Maybe that is what Peter and Andrew realised: they were not living their lives to the full and wanted to do just that.

Take some time today to become aware of what you desire right now in the midst of the pandemic surrounding us. Mindful of that desire, what might the invitation of Jesus be to you? What familiar things – “nets” – might you need to leave behind to live your life to the full at this moment in time?

Lord Jesus,

You ask ordinary people – like Peter, Andrew and me to follow you. You invite us to an adventure that gives our lives meaning and purpose. Give me the grace and courage today to let go of the “nets” that prevent me from living my life to the full.


Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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