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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus invites his first disciples to come and stay with him. 

I think that this command of Jesus is a bit like an initiation ritual. In order to prepare themselves for a lifetime of discipleship, his followers must first pass through an intensive period of spiritual formation, much like a novitiate in a monastery or training camp in football or boot camp in the army. During this concentrated time, they were to learn, in their bones, the essentials of this new way of life. So the disciples learn a new way of radical dependency upon God. 

Now what does all of this have to do with us? You say, “I’m a fifty-year-old man with a wife and kids and job and responsibility; I can’t very well go drifting off in a boat, trusting in the providence of God.”

True enough, but you can, for instance, go on a retreat every year; spend a week once a year at a monastery or a retreat center, living the spiritual life intensely; live Lent more severely and more radically this year, perhaps undertaking a difficult fast or giving alms until it hurts. These are things that any of us can do.