Without going into all the background on how little we Catholics know about the scriptures it should not surprise anyone to know that most of us believe that the call of Simon, Andrew, James and John was the first encounter they had with Jesus. Yet, just last week our gospel reveal that they had an earlier encounter with Jesus that convinced them that Jesus was the promised Messiah. It was apparent from the gospel last week that Andrew was seeking to different in his own faith journey. He was among the crowd that was following John the Baptist, not just a curious follower but he was declared a disciple of the Baptist – he was seeking the One that was promised by God.
We heard in that gospel how Andrew and some other unnamed disciple of John not only followed Jesus after the Baptist declared him the Lamb of God but Andrew stayed with him for a full day. The scriptures do not tell us what they did during that day but the end result was Andrew came away excited for he had not only found the Messiah but he was changed by the encounter. Andrew immediately went to his brother Simon and revealed his belief was the promised Messiah. Then the scriptures tell us he brought Simon to Jesus. This simple act of sharing the good news shows us how much we are changed by an encounter with Jesus. Andrew’s act had a tremendous impact on the entire history of the church. Is it possible that without Andrew we would not have had Peter – the rock and foundation on which Christ built the church?
We do not know the time frame between that encounter given to us in the Gospel of John and the one we hear today in Mark. We only know that Peter and Andrew are back earning a living fishing as Jesus walks by. Jesus quietly invites them to follow him and become something more than they imagine – disciples and evangelist. It could have been days, weeks or months since that first encounter with Jesus and today’s invitation to follow him. What happened during that period of time I believe is the same thing that can happen to anyone of us if only we take the time to put ourselves in a position to have that first encounter with the person of Jesus.
I invite you today to reflect on this one fact that is a truth for each of us and it is we are all seeking something by our faithfully being at church each and every week. I believe in the statement by St. Augustine when he said “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” We are motivated by our desire to satisfy some basic human need that longs to be fulfilled in our lives. The great minds of psychology tell us that we seek affirmation, security, love, self esteem, wealth, recognition, belonging, approval and so much more. These are the things that drive us and yet they never do or can satisfy that hunger in our hearts. Augustine knew that from his life experience and it was not until he discovered Christ that he found everything he longed for.
The call of Andrew, Simon, James and John is not a just a story about them leaving their nets to follow Jesus it is more a story of them first seeking the messiah because they realized the promise of God that everything they desired would be found in him. It begins with us first understanding what God has promised us if only we would listen to him and seek him with all our hearts. Then after realizing that all we seek is found in Jesus we like Andrew and Simon must spend time with him to allow his words and touch to prepare our hearts so we can respond to his call to go deeper and more able to see the freedom offered us by attaching ourselves to him – as he said in that upper room “we can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. Yet that is exactly the way most of us live our lives – doing our will, by our plan, by our desire and not ever listening to the voice of Jesus telling us there is another way.
It is a shame we Catholics do not read the scriptures and allow the word of God to penetrate our minds and hearts so we can recognize the voice of God when he speaks to us. This is the message that lies at the heart of these two gospels – it is the time they spent first seeking him, then spending time with him which allowed them to be changed from believers into disciples.
Don’t you think this is exactly what God wants to accomplish within us? The way is simple, first seek him and then spend time with him. We must spend time listening to the very God who gave himself up so that we might become sons and daughters of God.
I would like to encourage you to do more than depend on the Liturgy of the Word to be your source of God’s word to you. God tells us definitively he has a plan for our lives and that he has prepared us in advance to be able to fulfill that plan.
Do you think Andrew and Simon had a hunger for something more in their lives than being fishermen? It was not until they began to seek to satisfy that hunger that led them to the Baptist and then to Jesus. Do you know God’s plan for your life? It is not that difficult to discover if only you begin to seek the mind of God and his plan for you that is revealed by in Jesus.