The Call to Missionary Discipleship

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles,the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death ight has arisen. From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 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. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I thank you for calling me to be a fisher of men. Help me to step out in faith and to have the courage to bring your message of hope to everyone I meet today.


Encountering Christ:


  1. Encountering Jesus Every Day: Peter, Andrew, James, and John met Jesus on the seashore while they were doing their everyday chores. When he invited them to become fishers of men, their “Yes” was immediate. Before we can evangelize others, we must first encounter Jesus in our own lives and come to know him by spending time with him in prayer. In his Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel” Pope Francis invites us to this life-changing encounter: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 3).


  1. Saying “Yes” to Being a Disciple: Having encountered Jesus and heard his call to us, we must learn to follow where he leads us. The disciples immediately left their nets to follow him. We too need to be willing to leave our attachments to anything that holds us back from following the Lord. This is part of the repentance–the change of thinking and living–to which Jesus calls us.  


  1. Being a Missionary Disciple: Jesus modeled everything he would eventually ask the disciples to do. He proclaimed the gospel and cured every disease and illness among the people. He asked them and he asks us to do the same. Our mission is to be a light which shines in the darkness, offering Christ to those around us who are lost or hurting. Pope Francis says, “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Matthew 28:19). . .The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 120).  How are we responding to this call to live as missionary disciples given to us in our baptism?


Conversing with Christ: Oh, Jesus, give me the grace to encounter you every day in my prayer and in my silence. Help me to step out of my comfort zone in order to follow where you are calling me. May your love shine through me to everyone I meet.  


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will greet one stranger I meet today, remembering that you see them through my eyes and greet them with my voice. 


For Further Reflection: Read Curtis Martin’s (founder of FOCUS) reflection on making missionary disciples:

Claire Grabowski is a Catholic wife, mother, grandmother, author, and speaker. With her husband, she has been active in marriage ministry for twenty-five years. Learn more about her work at

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