The gospel of today’s feast, the Feast of Saint Andrew teaches the true meaning of Sincere discipleship.
Sincere discipleship is literally when we follow someone without pretence or deceit. It is also when we truly follow someone or serve Him without having anything at the back of our minds. This is when we are truly Christians.
This discipleship is the one that truly comes from the heart and occupies our whole being both in spirit, mind, body and soul. In the call of Saint Andrew and other apostles, we learn what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus.
Sincere discipleship admits no weakness, fake Christianity, inordinate desires, hypocrisy, play-acting but sincere and earnest desire to be like Jesus.
It is not when we go to church to shout Amen but our hearts are very far away from God. Sincere discipleship comes from the heart that is truly hungry for the Lord.
When we look at what happens today in the gospel we can actually glean from the encounter what it means to be a true follower of the Lord.
In the gospel of today, we see how Jesus calls Peter and Andrew His brother as they were casting their nets inside the sea. They left their nets and followed Him.
He also calls James and John who are with their father Zebedee when they are already mending their nets.
They also left the boats and their Father and followed Him. This kind of response is unthinkable but the response of these two groups of the apostles actually reveals what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus.
To Be Sincere Disciple. The Feast of Saint Andrew
Today we claim to be disciples of Jesus but when we critically analyse the cost of discipleship and what it truly means to be a sincere disciple of Jesus, we will come to terms that we are very far away from God. From the gospel, there are glaring instances of what sincere discipleship means.
1. In the apostles we see people who are willing to be followers of Jesus. Immediately Jesus calls them, they give in immediately. There is no excuse and no sign of weakness. No one even asks each other, who is this person we are following. They responded like people who are ready, willing, and prepared.
The gist here is that immediately they heard the voice of the Master, there was prompt obedience. How many times have we continually heard the voice of God through the reading of the word, inspiration, homilies, sermon etc? But we relegate them.
We treat the word of God as if it is nothing with the mentality of “is it today we have been hearing the word of God”, “must we sermonize everything”, “etc. The Feast of Saint Andrew teaches us that to be a sincere disciple is to be willing to listen to His voice, then serve and obey Jesus in everything we do.
2.Sincere discipleship is also the readiness to face or encounter anything for the fact it involves God. This is when we are not afraid of whatever we are going to face along the journey.
We are expecting the apostles today to ask Jesus where they are going. No one questions what they are actually going to benefit from this encounter. They just followed Him.
Sincere discipleship is when the love of being a disciple conquers whatever we may face in life. We remain His loving follower despite the problems, challenges and conditions we find ourselves. This is not when we follow Jesus only because of what we are going to gain. Sometimes when many pray and they do not see the results, they abandon their faith and lose hope in God. The Feast of Saint Andrew teaches us that sincere discipleship goes more than this. Our relationship with the Lord is not conditional.
3. When Jesus calls the apostles, they leave everything. They sacrifice their source of living. Peter and Andrew are already making a cast into the sea. They did not tell Jesus to allow them to finish what they are doing. Andrew and his brother didn’t tell Jesus that they are extremely busy. They left the fish, the net, the boat and followed Jesus.
What is keeping us busy that we have refused to pray for one year, month, day etc? What is actually taking the time we are supposed to give to the Lord? When we are true disciples of the Lord, we will make efforts to allow nothing to stand in between.
James and John are already mending their boats. Invariably they are working. But they left their boat, their father and everything to follow Jesus.
What can we sacrifice? What is that thing that takes the first place in our lives? Sincere discipleship demands our total commitment and sacrifice. Can we sacrifice our selfish desires? Can we sacrifice that aspiration just for the sake of the Lord?
Today we seem to seek our desires more than we seek what God wants. The Feast of Saint Andrew teaches us that being His disciple is to make sure that what God wants us to do takes the prime position in everything we do.
4. Finally, sincere discipleship involves true and honest disposition to the things of God. This is not when we fake our realtionship to God. It is not when we pretend to be close to God but deep inside our hearts we know that we are not.
Saint Andrew is known for His honest and sincere life. When the apostles were deliberating on how Jesus can feed the crowd, He was the one who pointed to the small boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:8).
Also, Immediately John acknowledges Jesus as the lamb of God , Andrew left John immediately to follow Jesus (John 1:40). The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). He is always plain and simple.
Therefore, He teaches us to be honest and plain. Like St. Andrew let us not live a life of deception. When we live a fake life, we mislead ourselves.
May God give us the grace to be sincere disciples of Jesus. May He continue to guide us and be with us in all we do. Amen