As a principal, I would often remind my students that they were made for greatness, built for holiness, and destined for sainthood. Based upon the universal call to holiness from Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, I wanted my students to know that God was calling them, and all of us, to become the people that He created us to be.
We are all made by God on purpose for excellence.
Today, on the second day of Advent, we celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, Simon Peter's brother and the first apostle. From today's Mass, we hear Matthew's account of this call. Jesus appears on the shoreline and calls to two sets of brothers: Andrew and Simon, and James and John. All four of them drop what they're doing and follow Him.
They leave behind their professions, possessions, and connections, and they follow Jesus. The sons of Zebedee, James and John, are actually out on the water in a boat with their father at the time. While these details are omitted, we can imagine these two brothers literally jumping out of the boat, into the water, and swimming ashore.
Jesus called them - Andrew, Simon (Peter), James, and John - to fulfill the reason for which they were created.
He was calling them to assist Him in fishing for other people. The Bible is filled with stories of people who received training, perhaps unbeknownst to them, for their true purpose. These four fishermen who were skilled at hauling in huge catches. Matthew the tax collector who was versed at collecting what was due. Saul (Paul) the soldier whose zeal transitioned from persecuting Christians to spreading Christianity. Jesus the carpenter, who like His earthly father Joseph, would have carried huge pieces of wood far distances.
As we begin this season of Advent and we look for ways to prepare for Christ's coming - historically on the first Christmas, spiritually into our hearts again this Christmas, and literally again at the Second Coming - I think it is fitting that the feast of St. Andrew and the call of the first apostles so often falls within the first part of Advent.
Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He came to show us the way, teach us the truth, and give us new life in His spirit. So, as we prepare for Christmas, let us also prepare our hearts to answer Christ's call. Let us embrace a spiritual indifference to our lives so that like the Jesuits, we can live with one foot raised, ready to leave behind our nets, jump out of our boats, and follow Him.
Jesus told us yesterday, "Watch!" He even said it multiple times.
Today, so that we can hear His call, maybe He's also encouraging us: