In Jn 21, after enabling Peter to land a remarkable catch of fish, the resurrected Jesus has an intensely personal conversation with him, checking Peter’s heart attitude, directing him to care for others and hinting at the future that awaits him.
But then – ignoring Peter’s curiosity with the calling of others – he simply confronts him with the instruction: “Follow me.”
A striking repetition. These are exactly the same words that Jesus spoke to Peter right at the beginning (Mk 1, Lk 5), when – after a similar astonishing catch of fish – Peter abandoned everything to follow him.
Sometimes the Master has to repeat himself, reminding us of our first calling; our primary calling. It’s so easy to become focussed on our subsequent vocation and secondary responsibilities; ‘feeding and tending to those for whom we have care’ (vs 15ff), or preoccupied with the future that lies ahead (vs 18ff).
But, as Martha’s sister understood, in essence ‘there is only one thing worth being concerned about.’
Master, how come I am so easily distracted from the personal priority of simply following you, my teacher; sitting at your feet to learn, and dogging your footsteps wherever I sense you going?
Help me to listen to your uncompromising and repeated instruction; ‘Follow me.’
And Spirit Helper, amidst all the attractions and distractions, strengthen my will to repeatedly choose (like Mary) ‘the best part’.