The First Disciples
Jesus in today’s gospel says: “Come and see,” (v. 39) when two of John the Baptist’s disciples ask Him where He stays. This is the first invitation of Jesus to “come” to Him. But one night of abiding with Jesus had changed their lives. He issued another invitation to them later on: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” (Mk 1:17) and they never went home again. In other words, first He invites us to come to see and know Him and then to come with Him to win others. There is an also invitation to come to Him for relief from burdens: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest,” (Matt 11:28) and a promise to those who accept His invitation: “I will not reject anyone who comes to me,” (John 6:37). There are personal invitations too from Him like: Zacchaeus (Lk 19:5), His friend Lazarus (Jn 11:43 and others.
There are three things that we may learn why we become disciples of Jesus through His invitation to come to Him. First is, the disciples are drawn to Him. When John points Christ out to them, two of his disciples and one of them is Andrew, are drawn to meet Him and follow Him. Before even speaking to Christ, they are drawn by His mysterious presence, His bearing, His glance, His person. An opportune testimony turns our eyes to Christ and we begin to see and experience for ourselves how great Christ. Once we experience Christ in this way, we can point Him out to others.
I have a friend of mine who is a Protestant even up to today. But she attends Mass every Sunday although she does not receive Holy Communion and even enters an adoration chapel and prays to God before the Blessed Sacrament. She attends Mass not because she wants to listen to the homily of a priest but maybe because of some of the testimonies of faith of some of her Catholic friends. Above all maybe because she finds in Mass a different Christ that she could not experience in other religious activities.
Second is, we know Him. These two disciples ask Him where He stays. They are asking as if: are you staying at the Manila Peninsula Hotel? But actually in a profound manner, they are asking: Rabbi, what are you all about? Who are you in this world and what is the meaning and purpose of your existence here? He says: “Come and see.” Through these, Jesus invites the two disciples to come and know Him and spend time with Him. Their discipleship begins after getting to know Jesus, hearing His words and experiencing His person. The more we come and see Christ, the more we are drawn to follow Him. The more we attend Mass and listen to His words, the more we become closer to Him. All John had to do was orient his disciples to Christ and they went and saw for themselves.
Third is, after we are drawn and known Him, we bring others to Jesus. Andrew cannot keep the secret for himself. He begins to spread the word. He becomes a recruiter for Christ. He searches out his brother Simon, and brings him to Jesus. We can call Andrew the most important recruiter because he brought the future first Pope to Jesus.
And so, as Jesus’ disciples let us continue in the Word, love others, bear fruit and put Christ first.
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