Today’s Gospel reading is the familiar call story of four fishermen, one of whom is Andrew, the apostle we honor in today’s feast. The synoptic Gospels have a habit of putting Peter in the spotlight. So it is that in this call story from the Gospel of St. Matthew we hear Jesus call first Peter and then Andrew. However, in the Gospel of St. John, the order is reversed. Andrew is introduced as a disciple of St. John the Baptist who pointed Jesus out to Andrew and another of his disciples. After Andrew has met Jesus, he goes to Peter and introduces him to Jesus.
Our natural human tendency when we find such seeming contradictions is to ask which of the stories is factual. However, that kind of question is basically useless. No matter how often we read the stories and how many different commentaries we peruse, we will never resolve the seeming conflict.
We would benefit far more by considering what is similar in both stories. It is Jesus who chooses Andrew in both stories, not Andrew who chooses Jesus. Andrew chose to follow when he is invited to do so. However, the choice was Jesus’ choice. Later on in the Gospel of St. John, we will read, “It is I who chose you, not you who chose me.”
The same can be said of us. Jesus chose us. While we followed, we were first invited. Jesus calls us to be a disciple. The invitation is ours to accept or to reject.
We make the same choice every time we gather at this altar. Jesus continues to call us, continues to invite us. We hope and pray that we will always accept that invitation.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator