Who You Calling?

by gary-foote on January 28, 2012

Have you ever wondered what it might have been like to be one of the Apostles called by Jesus? Would you jump out of your boat like James and John? Would you leave your livelihood behind like Simon Peter and Andrew? Early in my career as a Catholic youth speaker I often made the mistake of not understanding everything that happened BEFORE Jesus called out to these four. I had it in my mind that Jesus called and the Apostles immediately responded. Jesus is indeed God and there is power when He speaks, however there was more to the story that I was missing. James, John, Simon Peter, and Andrew were all followers of John the Baptist before they responded to Jesus’ call. They didn’t get up immediately and leave everything behind the first time the met Jesus.

Who You Calling? | Catholic Youth Speaker | Gary Foote

Photo by Travis S. courtesy of Flickr under Creative Commons License

Remember, John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins so there were most likely some familial occasions were they were together and maybe John the Baptist’s disciples were there too. We know that John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It is possible that the four where present and saw the image of the dove descend upon Jesus and heard the voice of the Father in the clouds. Needless to say, Jesus was not a stranger to these four Apostles.

The Sacred Scriptures tell us that Jesus first proclamation was a continuation of what John the Baptist was preaching, “ The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Jesus started with a congruent message to what the four had heard from John the Baptist. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John ended up in an extremely radical place after following Jesus for the 3 years of his public ministry, but they started their relationship with Him in a not so radical fashion.

It’s easy to think that Jesus called and the four immediately responded so those that I have the opportunity to spread the Gospel to should react the same way. But in reality there was a lot of time spent laying the foundation for Jesus’ call. When the these four Apostles heard, “Come follow me,” it was not odd and radical. It was an expected message from an expected leader.

As a Catholic youth minister and Catholic retreat leader it can be hard to balance between offering an opportunity for conversion and being written off as too radical to those who have never really encountered Jesus in a personal way before. Maybe we can all learn a lesson from the method that Jesus followed: Lay a foundation, keep a consistent message, build up a relationship, and then move on to change the world! Once again Jesus is the Master Catechist as He not only leaves us the message through the Sacred Scriptures, but also the method.

In Christ,

Gary Foote


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