Being a disciple means being a student of Jesus
Like most things in 2020, this will be an Advent unlike any other. But each day, you can still take a few minutes to reflect on the coming of our savior at Christmas with short reflections on Scripture, written by the staff of America Media.
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
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.
Today is the feast of St. Andrew, one of the twelve apostles and the brother of Peter. Andrew doesn’t figure as prominently as his brother in Jesus’ public ministry; he’s only mentioned by the evangelists a handful of times, but he’s there, accompanying Jesus, learning from Jesus, helping Jesus.
We often think of the 12 apostles as pillars. They were leaders and teachers in the community. They were heroic martyrs. Today, the successors of the apostles are the bishops in our church, and we believe they have been entrusted with teaching, sanctifying and governing in Jesus’ name.
But the call of the first disciples that we read today portrays Andrew and the others as students first. Jesus, the teacher, calls them to a new way of life. They will no longer be fishermen, but will become ‘fishers of men’. Reading further into Jesus’ public ministry, we will see the apostles gradually learn who he really is. But sometimes, the evangelists tell us, they mess up and totally misunderstand Jesus!
The call to discipleship is a call to learn about Jesus first. It’s not an instantaneous promotion. When Andrew and Peter, James and John, and you and I are called by Jesus to be disciples, we become students of the one instructor, and servants of the one Lord.
Advent is an opportunity to begin this journey of discipleship again. We can listen for the call of Jesus, and follow him, like Andrew, without knowing exactly where we’re going or thinking we have all the answers–for ourselves or for others. The most important thing is to accompany Jesus and to let him accompany us.
- How is Jesus calling me to discipleship today?
- Are my heart and mind open to hearing Jesus’ instructions and learning from him?
More from America: