In the Gospel today, we see that John the Baptist recognizes Jesus as the Lamb of God, and allows his own disciples to follow Jesus immediately. This says a lot about John. It says that John was a good teacher who taught his disciples to follow Jesus whenever He appears in his lives. Because of this, the two disciples slipped very easily from one master to the other. They had listened to John and come to understand what kind of person the Messiah would be and so were able to recognize Him when he was finally pointed out.
John’s job had finished, and it was time for him to get off the scene. His mission was to be a forerunner for the Messiah when he made himself known. There are many lessons for us in this Gospel passage. The most important one is that we have to move up a step in our discipleship. I hope that it is true that we all see ourselves as disciples. We are certainly all Catholics, we believe in God and in Christ and in his Church. But without denigrating the belief of any single person here I would like to suggest that we all need to evaluate what to do next.
Think about these two disciples: Andrew and John. They follow the Baptist and they believe that they are doing quite well. John can’t have been very easy to follow; his Gospel of Repentance was surely hard to live out in practice.
They are prepared by John for the coming of the Messiah and all at once there He is standing before them and John the Baptist quietly fades into the background. Suddenly these two are in the presence of the real Master and they discover that with John the Baptist they have been only paddling in the shallow-end. Now with Jesus they must dive in the deep-end and they do so with great success. It’s the same with us. There is a call within a call. There is the call which brings us into the fold of the Church. This might be through conversion as with quite a or, as with the majority, through coming to a personal decision to stay in the Church in which we were raised. That’s the first call. But then there is the second call, the call within the call, and that is to follow Jesus in a deeper more radical way. It is to take up with him completely and to dedicate one’s entire life to following him wholeheartedly. It means spending a lot of time with him in prayer each day, it means studying the scriptures, it means going the extra mile, it means loving till it hurts, it means avoiding all forms of evil, and it means helping to carry his cross. Most of all it means dying and rising with him. This is moving up to the big class. This is achieving one’s full stature as a Christian. This is the challenge that lies before each one of us. This is letting Jesus look us full in the eye, like he did to Simon Peter, and saying from now on you will be called ‘rock’. Are we ready to step up in our discipleship?
Peace, Fr. Oscar