If you start your day with prayer or meditation — or you’d like to — the Alumni Association encourages you to add FaithND (faith.nd.edu) to your routine. The daily email, currently received by a community of nearly 70,000 members, comes with the day’s Gospel reading, a reflection written by a member of the Notre Dame family, and prayer by a Holy Cross priest.
Timothy Gilbride is pictured here behind his family. In front of him, from left to right, are daughters Hope and Helen, wife Teresa, and son Harry.
Faculty and staff are frequent authors of the Gospel reflections. They share life stories or contemplations that likely don’t come up during the workday, and you get to know them on a spiritual level. You may even find yourself reflecting on the reflection throughout the day.
Here, Timothy J. Gilbride, the Steve and Ann Odland Associate Professor of Marketing in the Mendoza College of Business, shares his thoughts upon reading Matthew 4:18-22. Jesus asks fishermen Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew as well as James and John, sons of Zebedee, to drop their nets and follow Him.
In this passage, I am not surprised with the apostles’ willingness to follow Christ, but have always wondered at their willingness to walk away from the nets and other equipment that Simon, Andrew, James and John would need to feed themselves and their families. How will these men support themselves and their families? The passage seems especially clear in implying that Zebedee is reliant on his sons.
I suppose like most husbands, fathers, wives and mothers, an important concern of mine has always been to provide for my family — making sure our material needs are being met without modeling greedy or materialistic behavior.
The idea of walking away from the nets, putting complete trust in God with regard to my well-being and my family’s, seems to be an act of faith beyond me.
Six years ago I was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The good news is that it was six years ago and I have enjoyed many blessings and joys over that time. I always felt, though, a persistent concern for my family’s financial situation after I was gone. We make prudent decisions with regard to managing our resources, life insurance, etc., and having done the math, I knew intellectually my family would be OK. Nonetheless, I could not “walk away from the nets” and achieve any sense of peace.
When I was first asked to write this Gospel reflection, there were troubling test results and scans from my team of doctors. Since then, I have had a brain tumor removed, which means my cancer has escalated to the next level.
Yet, I am beginning to find peace.
Somehow, as things are less in my control (there is little I can do now to affect my financial situation), I am gaining acceptance. I do not feel like I’m giving up — rather, it’s more like I have done all I can, and now I must leave it to God’s hands.
Through the grace of God, I will hopefully be ready to put down my nets and follow him when he calls to me.