Friday, January 4, 2019
The call of the first disciples
Dear Father, You who are God Almighty and a merciful God, receive the prayer of your children, as the Savior that You have sent as a new light on the horizon of the world, rises again and shine on our entire lives.
From the Gospel of John (1:35-42)
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah," which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas," which is translated Peter.
In the first chapter of his Gospel John takes us through a sort time of travel. A week punctuated by the repetition (three times) of the expression "the day after" (vv. 29, 35 and 43). Our track puts us at the second of these moments, the central one and the most important one, characterized by physical and spiritual transition of the first disciples of John to Jesus.
Our scene is brought to life by a very intense exchange of looks: from John to Jesus (v. 35), from Jesus to the two disciples (v. 38), by the disciples of Jesus (vv. 38-39), and finally Jesus speaks as he is looking, to the person of Peter (v. 42).
The evangelist uses different verbs, but all are full of nuances. Not casual looks, but life changing looks instead. Jesus, the Lord looks at His disciples and us, so that, in our turn, we should learn to look at Him. The verb that closes the passage is beautiful; "to look" which means in this manner, "to look inside".
Jesus is walking along the sea, along the shores of our lives, and John acts as a photographer. He records it. He uses verbs which tell us that today, Jesus still is passing by us, and our lives can be visited and intersected by Him. Our world can welcome the imprints of His footsteps.
The center of the passage is centered on the movement of Jesus. He walks first, then turns and stops. His eyes and His heart change the life of the two disciples. Here Jesus is revealed as God incarnate, God came among us. He turned from the bosom of the Father and turned toward us.
It is beautiful to see how the Lord draws us in His movements, in His own life. In fact, He invites the two disciples to "come and see." You can not sit still, when meeting the Lord and His presence puts us in motion. It makes us get up from our old positions and makes us run. Collecting all the verbs referring to the disciples in this passage, we have: "followed Him" (v. 37); "followed Him" (v. 38); "they went ... they saw ... they stayed with Him" (v. 39).
The first part of the passage closes with the beautiful experience of the first two disciples who remain with Jesus They later come into His house and stay with Him. This is the path of salvation, of true happiness, which is offered to us when we accept to remain, to stand still, firm, determined, in love, without turning to and fro, toward one or the other master of the moment. Because, when there is Jesus, the Lord, and you are invited by Him, nothing is missing.
The time passage of this part of the Gospel, with its "day after" shows us that the Lord is not distant, but He enters our days and years in our concrete existence. Am I willing to open myself to Him, to share my life with Him? I am ready to deliver into His hands my present and my future so that He can drive my "day after"?
The disciples make a wonderful spiritual journey, highlighted by the verbs "heard, followed, went, saw, and stayed." Do I want to start this beautiful adventure with Jesus too? Do I open my ears to hear, to listen deeply, so I can give my positive response to the love of the Father who wants to join me? Do I feel born in me the joy of starting a new journey and walking behind Jesus? Are my heart and eyes wide open to see what really happens in and around me and to recognize in any event the presence of the Lord?
Peter receives a new name from Jesus and his life is completely transformed. Do I feel like that today, giving to the Father my name, my life and my whole person, so that He might give me a new birth as His son or daughter, calling me by name in His infinite love?
5) FINAL PRAYER
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures You let me graze;
to safe waters You lead me;
You restore my strength.
You guide me along the right path for the sake of Your name.
Even when I walk through a dark valley,
I fear no harm for You are at my side.