By Jessica Chodaczek
This holiday season I found myself in the movie theater on back-to-back days. You have to understand I’ve seen all of two movies in the theater in the last, oh, probably four years. So this was a rare occasion. As I watched Moana with my three-year-old, and then Rogue One with my husband the following night, I found myself pondering the bravery of the main characters. In Moana, a teenage girl is tasked with sailing “beyond the reef” by herself in order to hunt down a demi-god and restore life to her island. And in Rogue One, Jyn Erso must steal the plans to the Death Star in order to help the Alliance and avenge her father’s death. In both cases, seemingly impossible missions fraught with danger.
But these young women say “Yes,” not knowing exactly what was on the other side of that “Yes.”
Now obviously no one is coming to me asking me to travel across the ocean or through hostile space, but I found myself thinking, “I could never do that. Ever. Not even a little bit.” People describe me as a good many things – bubbly, nice, kind, etc. But brave is not in my wheelhouse. Not even a little bit. Risks? Challenges? Let me weigh them carefully, ask a bunch of questions, go over the details, and then maybe I’ll stick a toe in the water.
The funny thing is that as I was reading today’s Gospel passage, Peter struck me in a whole new way. Here is this wandering preacher asking him to give up his entire way of life to become a “fisher of men.” And what does he do?
Immediately drops his nets and follows.
I’ve always thought of Peter as unfailingly human, flawed, and eager, but I’ve never seen him as I did today. I saw him as brave.
And what was the result of Peter’s “Yes?” Unbeknownst to him at the time, it was a life full of richness, but also a life of danger, violence, great responsibility, and ultimately, death.
As I sit with this a while, my gut-level reaction is quite simply, “I don’t want to be Peter!” I am comfortable.
My life is stable.
I live a very “suburban” life – Starbucks occasionally, summer cookouts, story time at the library, the Saturday farmer’s market, two cars in the garage, yearly vacations, and many family and friends who are just like me. I don’t want God to come to me and ask me to make a radical decision like Peter, not knowing what is going to come next. What if it means giving up some of my “comfortable” life? What if it means change? I don’t want to be brave!
But as I allow God to guide me deeper, I have two reflections:
1. It’s time to put a little meddle in my soul. Christianity is not for the faint of heart, and if I’m so “comfortable” all the time, I’m doing it wrong. It’s time for me to woman-up, look Jesus straight in the eye, and say “Yes” to whatever He’s asking of me, trusting that His plan may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
2. Maybe it’s not about Earth-shattering, life-or-death decisions all the time. Maybe those radical decisions are present in my life in smaller ways. Maybe it’s time to get out of my comfort zone, spiritually. Maybe it’s time to start paying real attention to the conflicts around the world, and giving to aid organizations to the point that it hurts a little, or a lot. Maybe it’s time to be more vocal in explaining and defending my faith both online and with my spheres of friends. Maybe it’s time to invite my best friends to go to Mass with me.
Scratch that…..…not maybe….…it is time.
Dear Lord, I come to you as a willing servant. You have blessed my life in many tremendous ways, and I am grateful. Please help me to keep my eyes open to the needs of your people, and give me the strength to trust wholeheartedly in you and whatever you ask of me in this life. Fix my eyes on the brave people of faith who have gone before me, such as St. Peter, St. Teresa of Avila, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla. Help me to say Yes, just as they did. Thy will be done, today and forever. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica is a wife, mom, theology lover, and Realtor. She and her husband Chris have been married for nearly 10 years, and they have a 3-yr-old named Teresa, who continually cracks them up. Jessica works for LoFaso Real Estate, and her prior jobs included teaching Theology at Beaumont School as well as youth ministry. She is a leap year baby and proudly capitalizes on the fact that she's only "8 years old." Her house is overflowing with books, she's a little addicted to Facebook, and she is almost always found laughing.