Lectio Divina: St. Andrew, the Apostle
The call of Andrew and his brother.
The first disciples fishers of men.
O Father, you called St. Andrew from the net of the world to become the wonderful fisher of men for the proclamation of the Gospel. Please also make us taste the sweetness of the heavenly Father and make us to be your beloved children, so that we can open our heart to you with full confidence in order to allow it to be made and formed by the eyes and words of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus, and that together with Him, we bring the joyful news of your merciful love to our brothers and sisters, which makes our life more beautiful.
As He 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.19 He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 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, 22 and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
* "He was walking along the Sea of Galilee." Jesus is just out of the desert, after 40 days of great loneliness and struggle against the devil (Mt 4, 1-11). He emerged victorious, secure in His love of the Father, and came into Galilee and dwelt in Capernaum on the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and of Nephthalim, bringing His great light and His salvation (Mt 4, 12-16). Here He began to shout His message of joy and liberation: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 4, 17). There is no more loneliness since the Lord Jesus has arrived in our land, Galilee, among the Gentiles. He is very close, He is God-with-us. He is not far away and does not stay hidden. He "walks", along the sea and along the shores of our poor lives. Indeed, even more. Galilee, meaning "ring", tells us that He, being love, is to marry and to join with Him forever. Then you just have to welcome Him, as He walks by the sea. He already sees us, even from a distance, we already know.
* The verb "saw", repeated twice, first in reference to Andrew and his brother, then James and John, brings all the strength and intensity of a gaze that comes deep from the heart. Thus the Lord sees us, as readers, with loving attention to browse the pages of our lives, and who knows everything about us, everything He loves.
* It is no accident that Matthew often uses a particular vocabulary to describe this episode of family vocation. In this encounter with the Lord Jesus we find the word "brother" four times and the word "father"two times. We discover that we too are sons and brothers. Jesus enters our reality in a most human way everyday. He enters the flesh, in the heart, in my entire life, to make us born again.
* "Follow me." These are His words, simple and clear. He asks us to set out, to move, to "come to Him." It is a nice feeling to awaken to this voice that reaches us and is stronger and sweeter than the voice of the waters of the sea in the world which are noisy and confused. When He speaks to the heart, it becomes a great calm, and calm returns. Then He offers a course, marks the path to follow, and does not let us lose. "Follow me," says the Lord. Just accept the invitation, accept Him to know more, and just follow him as He opens the road.
"They left and followed." The two brothers, the first called, Peter and Andrew, become for us the beginning of this journey, as a clear, strong decision. They teach us to do the moves, the movement, to choose. "Release" and "Forward" become the key verbs and the words are written in the heart. Maybe we will often have to make these changes on the inside, in the secret soul, where only we can see. This is where the Lord is faithful. For us it does this wonderful thing, this word of the Gospel, so bright and strong that it changes your life.
* "Now." Matthew shows us twice the welcoming and readiness of the disciples as the Lord is passing by, with His gaze and His voice for them. They do not put up obstacles. There is no doubt or fear, and they trust Him blindly and respond immediately, saying yes to that Love.
In a crescendo, Matthew slides before our eyes all the elements that inspired the scene on the shore of the sea: nets, boats, the father, then it slips away into the background and is left aside. There remains only the Lord who goes before, and behind Him are the four new, called men. They carry our name, the story that God wrote for us.
4) Some questions
* The horizon of this Gospel story and the grace that God still does for us is like the sea, a clear sea, which has a name and a geography. Can I, before the Word of God, at this moment, give a precise image of the horizon of my life? Do I have the inner peace to lay bare my life as it is, my Galilee, my sea, before the eyes of Christ? Do I fear that water in my heart, like a menacing sea, dark and empty? Can I allow the Lord to walk along my bank? Can I let myself look like Andrew, or as Simon, James or John?
* And if I'm silent at this moment, if I believe the steps of Jesus really are as close to me as to leave my poor sand on His prints of love and friendship, then do I have the courage to let myself look into His eyes full of light? Or do I continue to hide a bit, to escape, to hide somewhere such that I do not want to see or accept?
And again, do I let Him talk to me, tell me, perhaps for the first time: "Come after me"? Or do I prefer to just keep listening to the sound of the sea, its waves invading and breaking on the shore?
* This Gospel speaks to me very strongly of the company of brothers. I speak of my being a son. It lays bare the deepest part of the heart, like the intimacy of home. Perhaps this is the place where there is more pain for me, where I do not feel understood, accepted and loved as I am? For the Lord puts His finger in my wound. Brothers, father, mother, friends... Jesus is all this for me, and much more. Do I really feel it? Is there room for Him in my house? And how is my relationship with him? Is it as a brother, or friend, or a son? Do you only know from a distance?
* It seems very clear that in this passage the Lord does great things in the life of the disciples. "I will make you fishers of men" He tells them. How do you react to this discovery? Do I let myself be touched by Him, really and truly? Do you want to let Him change your life? With Him I want to start a new adventure, looking for brothers and sisters who need to meet, to know and to feel loved by His infinite love? I can be a fisher of men, like Andrew and his brothers.
* We have just one thing: the decision to follow the Lord and to walk behind Him. What do I have to leave today to take this important step? What is holding me back which does not allow me to move? What weight in my heart, my soul? Perhaps I have in me the need to confess, to open my heart. My answer is now written into the look that He has laid on me, His words being stronger than the sound of the sea and I can not pretend that nothing has happened. The Lord has left a mark. I am no longer what I was. I mean yes, as did Andrew. Amen.
5) Concluding Prayer
Your Word, Lord is a lamp to my feet.
How can the young walk without fault?
Only by keeping your words.
With all my heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commands.
In my heart I treasure your promise,
that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your laws.
With my lips I recite all the edicts you have spoken.
I find joy in the way of your decrees more than in all riches.
I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.
In your laws I take delight; I will never forget your word.