WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?
(A biblical reflection on the SECOND ORDINARY SUNDAY [YEAR B], 17 January 2021
Gospel Reading: John 1:35-42
First Reading: 1Samuel 3:3-10,19; Psalms: Psalm 40:2,4,7-10; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20
The Scripture Text
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard Him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:35-42)
What does it mean to be a disciple? John’s description of the calling of the first disciples can provide some helpful insight.
When Jesus first called Andrew and his friend, He did not tell them to go out and do great things, or that He would empower them to become great men. For their part, when Jesus asked them why they were following Him, the two men responded simply by asking if they could stay with Him. They wanted to learn from Jesus and be with Him. Jesus welcomed them, saying, “Come and see” (John 1:39). They spent the day with Him, and He taught them.
Jesus’ invitation to “come and see” extends to all of us in every age. We are all called to be His disciples, to come to Jesus and stay close to Him. As we do, He will reveal Himself to us and teach us, enabling us to be more like Him. As a young boy, prophet Samuel (First Reading) learned this lesson, responding to the Lord’s call with an open ear and an open heart (see 1Samuel 3:10).
How exciting it is that greatness in God’s eyes relies not on what we do for God, but on what God does for us and in us. The disciples became great men of God because of the work of the Holy Spirit within them. None of them was born with extraordinary intelligence or nobility of character. They were ordinary people who surrendered their lives to God and allowed the Holy Spirit to teach them, guide them, transform them, and empower them. As a result, they became humble vessels of God, proclaiming the power of the Gospel throughout the world. They delighted in pleasing God; whether their words touched people’s hearts or fell on deaf ears, they continued undaunted, obeying their heavenly Father. Because they knew Jesus’ love for them, pleasing God meant more to them than anything else in the world.
This is how deeply God wants us to know Him. To God, it does not matter how smart we are or what we have accomplished. He calls us because He loves us. We are His special possession, of greater value than anything else. He has chosen us to know Him and to love Him. Let us turn to the Lord humbly and open ourselves to receive from Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You ask me why I seek You. Pour Your grace into me now and show me my soul’s answer. Heal me where I need to be healed that I might follow You with my whole heart, soul, and strength and bring others to You. Amen.
Jakarta, 16 January 2021
A Christian Pilgrim