Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Come After Me

November 30, 2010
Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

By Beth DeCristofaro

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Luke 10:13-15)

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:19-20)

O Glorious St. Andrew, you were the first to recognize and follow the Lamb of God. With your friend St. John you remained with Jesus for that first day, for your entire life, and now throughout eternity. As you led your brother St. Peter to Christ and many others after him, draw us also to him. Teach us to lead others to Christ solely out of love for him and dedication in his service. Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross and to carry our daily crosses without complaint so that they may carry us to Jesus.

Last week we read of Jesus’ journey to the cross. This week we read of the beginning of his public ministry, teaching and healing. Of course, this beginning is also the road to the cross. But these readings have such hope, such joy, such promise in them that we are inspired to turn and look down – hopefully join in the walk – which he takes. How can we not be joyful? Paul says (quoting Isaiah) How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news! Never having seen the movie I can’t help thinking of animated penguins’ “happy feet!” dancing with the joy of life in Christ.

However, Matthew’s gospel brings me up short. At once they left their nets and followed him. Not so sure about that. Can I dance with my happy feet but…

My vocation is in health care. I can’t help feeling that if Jesus were to walk down the hall, past my cubicle tomorrow morning and asked me: Come after me… I would say, “Sure, Lord, but just a moment. Let me let the secretary know that I’m leaving…And I need to let the boss know that I’ll miss the meeting this afternoon…Oh, let me just check to see if all of the files are up to date on Ms. Smith before I go.” Or “I have to let my husband know I’ll be late”. Truth be told, I can almost hear myself saying: “You go on ahead, Jesus, I’ll catch up with you.”

This is one big commitment. My job is important and it is essential that everyone be taken care of. But why a job when the creator of the universe created me to love and follow Him? Can’t he take care of Ms. Smith even better than I can? She will be in His care if I truly follow Him first as He graces me to care for her.

Thanks to the church for giving me these four weeks of Advent to prepare the way of the Lord – again – in my heart which is willing but oh so humanly weak. Perhaps St. Andrew can help me leave my nets, meetings and calendars behind to follow Jesus at once.

In what ways do you delay following Jesus? Call on St. Andrew for the fortitude and wisdom to answer the call. Each day of Advent take an unexpected step – perhaps enlarging your charity; swallowing a righteous retort; listening to someone else’s opinion or story; stopping a hurtful e-mail; preaching the Word (whether with or without words); saying an extra prayer; telling someone “thank you” or how much they have meant to you; standing up for another. Leave your net and go after Him.