"Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him" (Matt 4:22).
On this feast of St. Andew, we read Matthew's account of the call of the first disciples. Several details stand out. First, Jesus calls two sets of brothers, Peter and Andrew, then James and John, all fishermen. Discipleship will build on these intimate relationships, for the community Jesus forms will be brothers and sisters to one another.
Second, when Matthew says that Jesus saw these men with their boats, he implies more than just physical sight. To be seen by Jesus was apparently a compelling and life-changing experience. The first disciples immediately respond because something has happened to them in their encounter with Jesus. He knows them, and his call is a summons into a new and deeper existence. They emerge from anonymity into identity and purpose. Jesus sees them not just as fishermen but as fishers of men. He sees them as they are in the present, but he also sees them in future, the apostles they will become in his company.
In John's Gospel, Andrew is one of John the Baptist's disciples. Before he goes to recruit his brother, Peter, Andrew and another unnamed disciples of John followe Jesus, asking, "Where do you live?" Jesus answers, "Come and see." This begins an important theme in John, for to see is to believe. Again, the two disciples, by seeking Jesus, then following him to where he lives-- another much deeper reference than just to a place-- they have an encounter that draws them into a mutual moment of seeing and being seen.
It is this relationship with Jesus, our being seen by him and our decision to seek him and to stay with him, that is the essence of discipleship. We have been invited into a life-changing encounter with God's Word, the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we keep saying Yes to this encounter, others will be attracted to us, wanting to know what has happened to us that makes us authentic and real. To be known by Jesus, seen by him, is to be called to be an evangelist.