The Gospel according to Matthew (4:18-22)
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.
Opening Prayer: Father God, as we begin the season of anticipation, may I look at the example of Saint Andrew, who gave up everything for You. May I have such a clear sense of my priorities, that serving You is first, in all I do. Amen.
I suppose it is not that surprising that I can’t think of a specific time in my life where I made a big decision without some recrimination or “buyers’ remorse”. I think that’s a natural human reaction, as we are built to have that little bit of doubt at the back of our minds, making us question if the choice we made was really the right one or not. But, to keep ourselves from being driven absolutely crazy, we typically reserve that recrimination for the bigger decisions. Otherwise, we can never move forward because we doubt the steps that brought us to this moment.
Consider that human way of dealing with decisions and contrast it with what we see in today’s Gospel, where Jesus’ first four Apostles literally drop everything and follow Him. There is no equivocating or asking for some kind of an exception or anything. These first four men just accept Jesus at His word and join Him to become “fishers of men”. If we had any doubt about how charismatic Jesus was, this story should push that doubt far out of our minds! But, it was more than that. These four, including St Andrew, whose feast we celebrate today, saw in working with Jesus that they were bringing about the kingdom of heaven.
Here at the start of Advent 2021, we are faced with that same reminder of what it is that we do as followers of Jesus. We are called to “drop our nets” and join Jesus to be “fishers of men”. We are not called to have all the answers in our own minds, but to trust that the one we follow will give us what we need to achieve His mission in our world. We are called to pattern our lives after His example – loving above all else, reaching out to those who are most in need to feel God’s presence and His Holy Spirit. If we do that, we do help bring the kingdom of heaven about, and not at some undetermined future time when Jesus will come again – no, we do it to bring that kingdom about here and now.
We are blessed to have this season of Advent each year to prepare to celebrate again Jesus’ incarnation on Christmas. We need to connect His first coming at Bethlehem with two other important times: first, His coming among us even today, through our helping to share His love and light; and second, His second coming, when He comes as King and takes all who are His followers with Him to live with Him forever. It’s hard to connect those three times when we are so focused on our own lives, priorities and distractions. Advent is a time that we refocus on the need to be ready to serve Him in our lives, in our hearts, and in everything we do. May we walk on that journey this Advent and celebrate Christmas with that much more joy, and may we be about His mission to become “fishers of men”, by the lives we live. Happy Advent!
Closing Prayer: Father God, thank You for this reminder of Your mission in the world. May I do all I can to share Your love and light in my days, and to love more and more like You do. Amen.
Action for the Day: Think of whatever there may be that keeps you from following Jesus, and ask our loving Father to help you to overcome that, and to do something today to share Jesus’ love with someone in your life today.