The liturgy of the Word this Sunday invites us to hear God calling us and to respond. In the first reading, God calls Samuel and he responds. The psalmist sings of waiting for the Lord and answering. The Gospel tells of the call of the first apostles.
In the gospel of John, the first disciples were followers of John the Baptist. John hails Jesus as the Lamb of God, and two of his followers go off with Jesus. Discipleship is always God’s initiative. We do not make ourselves disciples on our own power. Disciples are invited to be with Jesus. They are to be with him in order to get to know him deeper, to attain that intimate knowledge of him. A disciple is always expected to go beyond the outward to an inward relationship with Jesus.
Today people join churches and follow prophets for very practical needs such as money and healing. Even those who seek to make disciples advertise themselves as helpers in practical needs such as jobs, wealth, good health and so forth. Jesus raises a powerful question to those who come to him, “What are you looking for?” This is the key question for anyone who wants to be a disciple. When you come to Jesus, what is the basic motivation? Is it just money, power, prestige, or salvation?
The disciples in the gospel today are not looking for a superficial or fleeting relationship with Jesus. They are not seeking to solve a practical problem. They want to know him very well and to be his friends. He invites them to come and see, to join him as he reveals himself and the truth to them.
Andrew is one of those who followed Jesus. He was the first chosen disciple. It is very interesting that though he was first he did not make it to the inner circle of Jesus. He is the man who brought his brother to Jesus. Andrew is famous for not trying to be famous. He was very content in his mission of bringing others to Jesus. He actually appears three times introducing others to Jesus. He also brings the boy with the five loaves and two small fish to Jesus before the multiplication episode. He brings the Greek inquirers to Jesus. Andrew knew his gifts and never sought to compare or compete with any of the apostles. He knew and understood his calling and knew the role God had asked him to play in building His kingdom.
As we work in the Lord’s vineyard, let us guard against the spirit of the world in which each person thinks of himself and easily becomes envious when the other seems to be more blessed. Pope Francis warns us against competition and jealousy in the communities of disciples today. He says that jealousy and envy are the doors through which the devil entered the world. When we lack the spirit of Andrew, we can suffer from jealousy and envy leading to division.
The story of Peter and Andrew is a redemption side of the story of Cain and Abel. In the kingdom of God there is plenty of room for all our brothers and sisters. A deep friendship with our Lord which will help us to face the daily challenge and temptation to put the other person down, so that I am a bit higher.