Within the past two to three weeks most students from grade school to college are back in session after their summer break.  Even those of us no longer in school feel the shift in the air, a shift in focus as the days grow perceptibly shorter. While first-grade students might still feel the excitement of riding the bus with the big kids, and college freshmen are reveling in their new-found freedom, I find myself reluctant to embrace the change of season.

Last May I remember remarking to others that I had been feeling swamped. It was all good!  God had been very generous, though dangerously so. Jesus was delighted and we were both having fun until I realized that the nets were straining and we were in danger of sinking. I managed to come ashore safely, taking good advantage of summer to recharge, but now find myself in a September slump.

Now what?  Simon acted on what I was becoming aware of last spring. “They signaled their partners in the other boat to come help them.”  James and John were his partners. A good reminder that Jesus does not ask me to do my work alone. God will continue be more generous than I can imagine, but we are called to share the adventure with others.

I also notice that “when they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything” — presumably all those fish — and followed Jesus. Perhaps the fruit of our labor with Jesus is less about the particular product produced or finite goals achieved, no matter how we measure them.  Perhaps it is more about the nature and quality of relationships we develop with others along the way.

Who is watching, waiting and ready to be flagged down to join me in my labor as I embark on a “new school year”?  What might I need to do to put my tasks and goals in the proper perspective?

—Jenéne Francis, is Provincial Assistant for Pastoral Ministries, Chicago-Detroit   Province and Wisconsin Province