This Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 4:12-23) invites our attention to the call of the first disciples. It is coupled with Jesus’ command: “Reform your lives”. Without reform or the radical change that is daily conversion, discipleship is not possible. For this we must be willing to ask ourselves again and again, “What would Jesus Do?” and be equally willing to act repeatedly upon our answer.
This question and its acronym “WWJD” are worth exploring. A WWJD web site asks how these four letters became so popular in the youth of America. A youth group from Calvary Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan, brought this question. “What would Jesus do?” to its popularity. Inspired by the 1896 book by Charles Sheldon, “In His Steps”, the youth group tried to apply this question to the choices they all had to make daily. As a tangible reminder, they were simple cloth bracelets that bore the letters WWJD. The fervour of that Michigan youth group might strike a similar fervour in each of us to lead us to truer discipleship. To begin the process of reform, we might consider the following scenarios.
A note in the bulletin makes known the need of a parishioner for a ride to church. The address is in your neighbourhood but you’d rather not be burdened with this weekly responsibility. What would Jesus do?
Your telephone rings and a voice on the other end asks you to help out at the school’s fundraiser this Saturday. You have a movie date planned, so you decline with the excuse that you’re already committed elsewhere. What would Jesus do?
Your neighbour is in the hospital. She’s a widow and has no family in the area but you hate the smell of hospitals and, after all, you might “catch something” and get sick yourself so you don’t visit. What would Jesus do?
Like the Corinthians who favoured certain preachers over others (2nd reading 1 Cor 1:10-13,17), you try to find out who will be presiding at which Mass (or worship service) so as not to be bored to death by Rev. Blank or lulled to sleep by Rev. Doe. What would Jesus do?
Initially it may seem that these examples drawn from the very ordinary events of everyday life have little to do with discipleship. But in a very real sense, these little events and our responses have everything to do with discipleship because the question “What would Jesus do?” must be levelled at every important and seemingly insignificant moment of our lives.