Directing Your Friends To Jesus

    A pastor met one of his parishioners who had missed Sunday Mass the previous Sunday. "What did you preach about on Sunday?" the man inquired. "I took my text from John 1 and spoke about Andrew," was the reply. "Andrew!" the parishioner exclaimed in surprise. "Why, I hardly remember him at all among the disciples. He didn't write any of the books of the Bible, did he? What made you talk about him?"

    The priest smiled. "I don't suppose many people would call Andrew great, but the one significant thing about him is that every time he is mentioned in the Bible, he's introducing someone to Jesus! We see him bringing his brother Simon to the Lord (Jn 1: 41, 42 – today's Gospel). In John 6:8-9, we see him escorting a young lad to Jesus who miraculously used the boy's simple lunch to feed a multitude. He is also seen directing a group of seeking Greeks to Jesus (Jn 12: 21, 22)." The parishioner walked away thoughtfully, for he had just received a glimpse of how important that unpraised apostle really was.

      In the Gospel this week, John the Baptist points out that Jesus is the "Lamb of God" to two of his disciples (John and Andrew). They understood this title and went after Jesus, staying with him to learn from him personally. The outcome of their stay with Jesus is that Andrew shared his experience and brings his brother Peter to Christ.

    Andrew became not only a committed follower but an evangelizer - the two cannot be separated. He immediately went in great excitement and found his brother, Simon, and told him, "We have found the Messiah!" And thus Simon became Peter and also a follower, an apostle and the leader of the new community. It is important to note that Peter, in spite of his future important role, was not called directly by Jesus but through his brother. And that happens again and again. Everyone, including the greatest saints, were called by another and brought to Christ.

      The call of the first disciples reveals a challenging pattern to us about our roles in evangelization. The first people to whom we should share our faith experience is to our relatives and friends.  We must seek, find and grow in faith through sacred liturgies, personal prayer, reading of the Bible and adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, etc. Christian discipleship consists of seeking and walking behind Christ Jesus, remaining with him as we work to bring others to him.

    Today's world needs more Andrews—evangelizers who are committed followers of Christ. More disciples are needed, now more than ever, to direct friends and family members to Jesus Christ. It is he who calls us to make an impact on this community, our community. We may have answered, "Yes, Father, I will go," but a question remains. Have we gone? Is Christ really Lord of our lives? Are we really making an impact on those around us?

In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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