“The paralysis of analysis”

Fr Dominic
Parish Priest

“As he was walking by the sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.”

This is a really amazing paragraph. Two guys fishing, one we know was married and when Jesus says, “come follow me,” they drop everything and follow him. If the call came to us we would probably want discussions, some counselling, some research on decision making as we weigh up the options to ensure that we are responding to a genuine call. While we are doing all that, Jesus would move on to another town and we would miss the chance. This is what has been called “The paralysis of analysis”.

Discussion is easy. But, decision takes courage and strength. Discussions are a dime a dozen. Our life is shaped not by our discussions but by our decisions. Analysis is no substitute for decision which is the point this Gospel account is making to us. We follow Jesus by making a choice, not by launching a discussion. Jesus said, “Come follow me.” At once, they left their nets and followed. The message of Jesus was that the Kingdom of God is at hand and He calls us to reform our lives. The trouble is that we want the kingdom but we don’t want to reform. It’s like those who want elected office, but not the campaign; want the meal, but not the cooking; who want the grades , but not the study; who want health but not exercise; who want the salary but not the work. For us, to follow Jesus is not a matter of leaving family, jobs, or residence. It’s a matter of leaving behind a way of living, and that is far more difficult.