Grace: An intimate knowledge of our Lord, Who has become man for me, that I may love Him more and follow Him more closely.
Reflection: One of the most striking things about all of the passages about the calling of the first disciples is the fact that Jesus calls each of the disciples in pairs. Although He would build His Church on the foundation of Peter, He also calls his brother, Andrew. Likewise with James and John, Philip and Nathan’a-el. In a similar way, Jesus not only calls each of the disciples to their ministry with a companion, He also sends them out in pairs (Mk. 6:7). That might seem like a waste at first, for they could have reached twice as many people if they had gone out individually. But Jesus chooses to be among us wherever two or more are gathered (Mt. 18:20), and the disciples’ ministry to the wider world is drawn not just from the depths of the individual minister’s own gifts and abilities. Rather, it is the disciples’ sharing of the communion that already exists between them that helps to bring about conversion in those to whom they are sent. In community, the disciples are strengthened and—in community—they are sent out on their mission to follow the Lord.
Even more importantly, the community itself is then the means of bringing others closer to Christ. God seems to work in each disciple by first working in the lives of others. When each sees the effects of that life, of that union with God shared in a community of believers, he cannot help but be drawn into discipleship. Jesus Himself is the attraction, and it is Christ’s presence in the midst of the disciples that allows them to be faithful to the calling they have all received.
However, it would be wrong to gloss over the fact that each of the disciples receives an individual call from the Lord. Peter’s calling is not the same as Philip’s or John’s, and the life that Jesus has in mind for James is not the same as the one that he has in mind for Nathan’a-el. Our own calling may likewise not come in the way we expect; it might come while we are in the midst of worldly pursuits or among unlikely companions for the journey. However, it is in this sort of moment that Peter is called to leave everything and follow the Lord (Lk. 5:10-11). As with Peter, this calling often comes with a sincere act of repentance, followed by attempts to know Jesus in a general way and finally by a relationship with the Lord that shows us our calling as an individual, perhaps to something we never would have guessed with companions we never would have chosen for ourselves. Whenever (and however) the Lord calls us, we need only to respond generously and follow Him in the ways He leads us.
Questions: How have I gotten to know the Lord lately? How is the Lord calling me to a new and deeper discipleship? How is this calling similar to the calling of Peter or the other disciples? How will I respond?