Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Immediately at once!

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. - Matthew 4:18-22

Today is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle who is the patron of my youngest son, and so I have included today's gospel reading from the Gospel according to St. Matthew. What stands out to me the most about this passage are the phrase "at once" and the word "immediately" which refer to the course that Sts. Peter and Andrew and Sts. James and John took with regard to following the Lord. There is no mention of tying up loose ends like docking the boat or putting up the mended nets or saying goodbye to family and friends. No, these men dropped what they were doing and resolutely followed Jesus right away.

What exactly is the point that St. Matthew is making? I don't think it is simply that there was a sense of urgency which Jesus conveyed to them with regard to the coming of the Kingdom, although, that very well may be part of it. But perhaps more importantly, the wording used by St. Matthew expresses the commitment which is necessary to be a disciple of Christ. It must be total, unwavering, and focused. Christ must be at the center of our world which is to say that in our work, play, family, etc., Jesus is the key to bringing meaning to a world which quite often is chaotic and confusing. He is the key to unlocking the mystery which is life. Is it any wonder they followed Jesus at once?

With the season of Advent upon us, it is time once again to reflect on this truth: just as Jesus called his disciples and presented to them the opportunity of a lifetime, so he calls each one of us and presents the same opportunity to us. Jesus actively seeks us out, our response should be to actively seek him as well, hastening to do the will of God, resolutely following the master with our whole heart through service to him and to our neighbor. This is what he desires. Are we ready to follow him at once?

Lord, in your kindness hear our petitions. You called Andrew the apostle to preach the gospel and guide your Church in faith. May he always be our friend in your presence to help us with his prayers. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Holy Father Andrew, pray for us.


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