Before the days of texting and Twitter, people actually had to talk with one another. Cornelius was not content to go on Facebook and check Peter's blog. He certainly would have seen much through posted pictures and read even more about Peter's vast experience with Jesus had such technology been available. Instead Cornelius sent for Peter and Peter journeyed to Cornelius' house. They needed to be together. Imagine being there yourself and hearing the passion in Peter's voice as he spoke about Jesus; listen to the rhythm of his outpouring of personal knowledge and committed faith.
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As Jesus calls his disciples it seems like he has a criterion for the people with which he wants to surround himself. It may not always be obvious in the Biblical account, but Jesus is careful to choose people who are really committed to his message. With their help, Jesus will be able to do more and spread the word about God farther.
There are always difficulties in Christian ministry, at whichever level you're involved in it, from church cleaner to the Archbishop of Canterbury. There's always someone who'll find fault, and if like the Archbishop, you're a subject of media interest, then I should imagine Christian ministry can be very difficult indeed and perhaps something of a burden.
In today's Gospel text, Jesus calls for repentance, expects Peter and Andrew to drop their nets and follow him, and calls James and John to leave their Father Zebedee in the boat without so much as a "So long, see you later."
My task today is to issue that same call to repentance, that same call to radical obedience and decisive discipleship. For that call is urgent and cries out to be issued in all of its majesty and might.