And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two
brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his
brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers).
And he saith to them: Come ye after me, and I will
make you to be fishers of men.
And they immediately leaving their nets, followed him.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren,
James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a
ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets:
and he called them.
And they forthwith left their nets and father, and
And Jesus went about all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel
of the kingdom: and healing all manner of sickness and
every infirmity, among the people.
Matthew 4: 18-23
Jesus summons us to follow him not as
a teacher of a pattern of the good life,
but as the Christ, the Son of God.
The Cost of Discipleship
The call of Jesus goes forth, and is at once followed by the
response of obedience. The response of the disciples is an act
of obedience, not a confession of faith in Jesus. How could the
call immediately evoke obedience?
The story of the call of the first disciples is a stumbling-block
to our natural reason, and it is no wonder that frantic attempts
have been made to separate the two events. By hook or by crook a
bridge must be found between them. Something must have happened in
between, some psychological or historical event. Thus we get the
stupid question: Surely the disciples must have known Jesus before,
and that previous acquaintance explains their readiness to hear the
Masterís call. Unfortunately our text is ruthlessly silent on this
point, and in fact it regards the immediate sequence of call and
response as a matter of crucial importance. It displays not the
slightest interest in the psychological reasons for a personís
religious decisions. And why? For the simple reason that the cause
behind the immediate following of call by response is Jesus Christ
himself. It is Jesus who calls, and because it is Jesus, the disciple
follows at once.
This encounter is a testimony to the absolute, direct, and unaccountable
authority of Jesus. There is no need of any preliminaries, and no other
consequence but obedience to the call. Because Jesus is the Christ, he
has the authority to call and to demand obedience to his word. Jesus
summons us to follow him not as a teacher of a pattern of the good life,
but as the Christ, the Son of God. In this short text Jesus Christ and his
claim are proclaimed to the world. Not a word of praise is given to the
disciple for his decision for Christ. We are not expected to contemplate
the disciple, but only him who calls, and his absolute authority. According
to our text, there is no road to faith or discipleship, no other road - only
obedience to the call of Jesus.
And what does the text inform us about the content of discipleship? Follow me,
run along behind me! That is all. To follow in Christís steps is something which
is void of all content. It gives us no intelligible programme for a way of life,
no goal or ideal to strive after. When we are called to follow Christ, we are
summoned to an exclusive attachment to his person. The grace of his call bursts
all the bonds of legalism. It is a gracious call, a gracious commandment. It
transcends the difference between the law and the gospel. Christ calls the
disciples follow; that is grace and commandment in one.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, English trans. R. H. Fuller, London, 1959, pp. 48-9.
SAINT ANDREW CHRISTMAS NOVENA
It is piously believed that whoever recites this prayer 15
times a day from the feast of Saint Andrew on November 30th,
until Christmas, will obtain what is asked.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen
[Imprimatur: +MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York,
New York, February 6, 1897.]
The Calling of Peter and Andrew
by Duccio di Buoninsegna; 1308-1311; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.;
November 30 - Feast of Saint Andrew, First Apostle - Following the Call of Jesus
This site is dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ
in the Most Holy Virgin Mary,
for the Glory of God
The Apostolic Blessing by the Holy See in Rome is bestowed (October 28, 2013)
Omnia ad majoren Dei Gloriam!
(All for the greater glory of God)
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