Sunday 21 June 2020
Second Sunday of Matthew
Today’s Gospel reading narrates the story of Jesus Christ calling some of the Apostles to become His disciples. Although short, this passage from Matthew’s Gospel packs a number of small yet significant lessons regarding the concept of ‘receiving a call’.
First we see that Jesus asks Andrew and Simon-Peter to follow Him by telling them simply that they would become “fishers of men”. Andrew and Peter were fishermen, hard at work. The Lord Jesus invites them to leave behind their current profession but He somehow comforts them by telling them that they would continue to ‘fish’. In creating this analogy the Lord reveals to them a new found comfort in the revelation of the true calling and responsibility in life. Andrew and Peter understood what it means to fish. Of course the two professions couldn’t be more different in their actual activities and responsibilities, but these two Apostles learned that they had to leave behind an identity they thought was theirs for their actual identity.
Second we observe that Jesus calls two other fishermen, James and John, the sons of Zebedee and they also join Him and become His disciples based on a simple invitation. The passage tells us that these two Apostles left behind not only their boat, but also their father with whom they operated their family business. Not only are they leaving behind what they understood as their job in their communities but beyond that they left behind what their father had given them. James and John left behind the expectations that their own father and family had for them.
Third, we learn something about Jesus Christ also. Whenever we pay attention to anything that Jesus did during this life and ministry on earth, we notice again and again that He chooses to do some things in a way that seems unnecessary for Him as True God. Did Jesus really need Apostles, partners in His ministry. Did He need them around to preach, or heal the sick, or give food to the hungry? Well, no, He didn’t really need them. As True God, He could have made anything out of nothing. But Jesus Christ teaches us to choose partners in our activities; especially in our calling to serve the good of people and communities around us. Of course as True God Jesus did not need them; in fact, He had to spend time explaining to them things they just didn’t understand. They slowed Him down even. But as True Man, the Merciful Lord teaches us that all of us as people are able to accomplish more by working with others than we can by ourselves. Remember, when Jesus multiplied the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, He asked the Apostles to feed the people.
The fourth and final point of learning I wish to share with you from today’s Gospel reading is about both Jesus Christ and the Apostles He selected as His Disciples. To me this is one of the most beautiful aspects for us mortal humans to learn. Jesus Christ began His ministry to His creation but He didn’t build it for an end when He died on the Cross, or when He resurrected from the dead, or when He ascended into Heaven but He built His ministry to live on even after He returned to His place of eternal glory. You see the Almighty and Almericful Lord Jesus, took on Disciples/Learners/Students. He wanted to teach and train others to continue what He started. Jesus taught these uneducated fishermen to become teachers, preachers, priests, healers and they continued the work that He taught them. We, who follow Jesus Christ, and call ourselves Christians, indeed choose to pass on what we learn and what we know because the work of our calling to serve people is greater than ourselves. Our work is more important than we are because we pass on to others what the Lord Jesus Christ has taught us to do.
May we be blessed to become fruitful as the chosen Apostles of Christ were fruitful!