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Casa Faith Formation Newsletter

January 21, 2024

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Today's Gospel:

Mark ;14-20

fter John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.

The Deep End Crowd!

Upon Reflection:  I recall with surprising detail the first time I jumped off of the "high-dive" at the community pool as well as the circumstances leading up to it.  Back then, going to the pool was just about an everyday thing during summer vacation.  Playing "Marco Polo" and "Dibble" and "Underwater Baseball" was the craze for me and my friends. But then the day came when talk began about going to the deep end where the big kids hung out doing cannon balls and can-openers and jack-knives off of the diving boards.  


This brave endeavor of ours would open up a whole new world within our daily summer schedule, and I must say, when we ventured over there, we mastered the low-dives pretty quickly.  A good hour each day was spent jumping off of those things in the most creative ways we could conceive.  However, always looming over our heads was that high-dive.  It became clear to us after a week or two that we were not fully a part of the "deep end" crowd until we conquered the high-dive.  


So we watched the older kids do it.  Sometimes an occasional dad would even get up there and do a Hawaiian hang or something sick like that.  The thing I remember most clearly though was standing on the side of the pool, looking up at the high-dive while people hurled themselves off of it one after another.  I wanted to be a part of the action so badly, yet all I could bring myself to do was watch.  


Now, I'd love to tell you that I was the first of my friends to overcome the fear and take the plunge, but I wasn't. In fact, I was the last.  It took three days of watching all my friends climb up there and bounce themselves through the rite of passage, three days of being that annoying kid who would slowly climb half way up the ladder and then chicken out, before I finally made it all the way up.  


With wind whistling in my ears, almost as if I stood atop Everest, I walked to the edge of the board, closed my eyes and jumped.  Initiation!

This story from my childhood shows the clear distinction, I think, between being a follower and being a disciple.  The gospels describe Jesus having both followers and disciples, but what's the difference between the two? Today's Gospel in particular claims that Jesus called

four people to "follow" him, but these four (Simon & Andrew, James& John) came to be known as much more than followers of Jesus.  They came to be among his closest disciples.  


So what is the nuance here?  What distinguishes a follower from a disciple?  I think that just like at the deep end of the community pool, followers watch, disciples do.  Followers are intrigued, disciples are the intriguers.  Followers imitate, disciples internalize.  Followers make no permanent commitment, disciples take on a new way of life. Followers think about jumping, disciples jump.  


Please do not misunderstand.  Being a follower of Jesus is not a bad thing.  In fact, it is a very good thing.  One cannot be a disciple without first being a follower.  But that is precisely the point:  We are called to be so much more than "watchers" of Jesus.  We are called to BE Jesus for the world. Only by taking that plunge will we truly be fully initiated disciples!


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Donna Kinzie

Family Ministry

480 355-0344

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Cheryl Hentz

Youth & Young Adult Ministry

Young Family & Infant Baptism Ministry

480 306-4817

Director of Faith Formation

480 355-0359

Fred Mercadante

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