Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and would have heard his assertions that someone was to come who would offer a greater baptism: baptism of the Spirit. He would, therefore, have shared John’s sense of expectation and been on the alert for the one who was to come.

The Gospel passage does not record any conversation between John and Jesus – but emphasizes that John looked hard at Jesus – weighing up the man he saw before him.

What he saw – and what he sensed – led him to announce that this man was indeed the one who was to come: the Lamb of God. [Living Liturgy 2015]

Andrew and another disciple are intrigued and set out to follow Jesus. He becomes aware of them and asks what it is they want from Him. Their answer seems strange – they want to know where He lives. His response is to invite them to come to His home and, we are told, they stayed with Him for the whole day.

The next day, Andrew finds his brother and tells him about the Messiah he met the day before and takes him to meet Jesus.

Like John the day before, Jesus looks hard at Simon – getting the measure of the man and in the light of what He discerns about him, changes his name to Cephas – or, as we more usually know it, Peter.

The two encounters are life-changing – and yet, seem very ordinary. Jesus was not proclaiming a message – making erudite speeches – or performing great miracles. Instead, He was simply walking past John – and, when Andrew and his friend introduce themselves, takes them to His home and offers hospitality and companionship.

When He meets Peter, He does not ask searching questions or makes solemn declarations – He just looks at him – makes an assessment of his character – and accepts him as a friend.

The simplicity of Jesus’ manner reinforces His willingness to receive people “where they are” – but also to see their potential. He does not offer lengthy explanations or list His credentials but takes people to His home and lets them see for themselves.

What does it mean for us? Our own journey of discipleship is a process of coming to know Jesus more fully, being more attracted to him, following him more faithfully even when the cost is great. What might that cost look like? We might have to walk away from the watercooler at work to avoid gossip. We might lose friends when we speak up for justice. We might be shunned by a social group when we live out our gospel values. In all these ways we unite ourselves more fully with the total self-giving of Jesus and grow in faithful discipleship.

Adapted from Renew International Prayer Tme Year B

Job Description: Calculate The Cost

This week’s Gospel from Luke takes toughness through the roof.
cost-012-680x215On the face of it, the teaching here seems utterly offensive. Hate your family? Take up a crucifix and follow Jesus? Give up all your possessions? And if you don’t do these things, you cannot be a disciple of Jesus? What kind of cult leader is this Jesus guy?
That’s one possible response — to reject the offense and the offender.
Another is to say that Jesus didn’t really mean what he seems to have said at all. He meant something more like “love me more than anything” and “try your best” and “don’t focus on things.” This response (and it is very common in preaching and commentaries) might be called evading the offense. However, it is also evading Jesus.
A third approach is to impose an ethic of balance or tension. We have to balance our love for Jesus with our love for our family. We have to live with the tension of the faithfulness to God on the one hand and duty to others on the other, being sure not to go too far in either direction, lest we become completely faithless (duty to others alone) or cause ourselves foolish harm (the cross). We need to be prudent with our possessions, giving out of overflow, perhaps, but certainly not giving it all. This is a way of completely ignoring both the offense and the offender. Jesus never once, anywhere in Scripture, calls us to live in balance or tension. Greek philosophers have done so. Jesus does not. He calls us to follow him.
The qualifications Jesus puts forth for being his disciples were and are offensive and radical. And they are his conditions as he considers whom he will trust as disciples. They are not ours as we choose whether we want to follow such a demanding master. Ours as disciples is not to “dumb down” his demands, but to accept the radicality of his challenge, and, if we want him to choose us as part of his construction crew to expect to live into them.
The radical call suggests that we grow into it. As we make choices to live out our discipleship, we enter more deeply into its meaning and demands. Our ongoing baptismal yes is our ongoing self-emptying stance of discipleship. Jesus is constantly inviting us to listen to him. We spend our whole lives bringing our fullest attention to what he is
God will sustain us. God never goes back on the divine promise to give new Life to those who are faithful.