What Will You Leave Behind?

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4: 18-22

In many traditional cultures the role of the older brother is very important. Even if the older brother is not the first born, in the family the older brother is important. And even in our culture to a certain extent, you can sometimes look at family of adult children you can go, “oh well that must be the older brother.” Perhaps he’s a little more loyal to the family, perhaps he’s a little less fun-loving, or whatever it may be. I know when I was in Japan, the older brother is very important. In fact, when the older brother got engaged, it wasn’t he and his fiance that went out to find the apartment, or buy the furniture, or whatever. It was he and his mother. Because she was going to take care of him, take care of the older brother.

In today’s Gospel we hear a story of Two Brothers, Peter and Andrew. And James and John. And traditionally, it seems that Andrew was the older brother to Peter. Today we read from the gospel of Matthew, when Jesus goes along the Sea of Galilee to find his disciples. In the Gospel of John, Peter is not there. It’s only Andrew. And Jesus sees Andrew, who was a disciple of John, and Andrew follows Jesus. Andrew goes home and tells Peter, he tells his brother. Andrew is probably the older brother, and yet in the gospels, you don’t hear much about Andrew. He kind of gave up his position to Peter. When on the mount for the Transfiguration, it was Peter, James and John. In the Mount of Olives, after the Last Supper, all the apostles went. And then three went closer to Jesus. Peter, James and John. What happened to Andrew?

I was listening to a podcast the other day. The question was, do you think Andrew was mad? Do you think he was bitter because he was the older one? In one gospel he was the first one to find Jesus and yet Peter takes Authority. Certainly even among Jesus’s apostles there was a pecking War. Or there were some who were maybe a little closer to Jesus, and some were kind of in the middle, and somewhere kind of maybe a little less than close Jesus. Even among the apostles, even though we don’t really know exactly how that existed. But it certainly was there. Peter obviously is the one that Jesus chose to be the one in charge of his Apostles but he was the younger brother.

When he calls his disciples today in today’s Gospel. He called Andrew Peter James and John. He called them to leave something. They’re called to be apostles oh, but they’re not only called to follow something. First we’re called to leave something behind. Not all of us, obviously. Not all of you can leave your families, jobs, and everything. But you are called to leave behind something. And perhaps you never thought about that. When you’re called to be a disciple, it’s not just called to do something. Not just called to follow. But first we’re called to leave behind.

In today’s second reading St. Paul is writing to the Corinthians. He’s talking about the divisions that exist among their community there. There should be no divisions. There should be no divisions in our Christian Community. There should be no divisions in our church. And we may look at our modern day society, certainly there are divisions politically just within the United States. But, we can’t allow the political divisions to creep into our religious Faith. It’s different. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to have diversity. We don’t all have to follow the same political view or whatever. But we all have to be united as Paul was telling the people of Corinth. We have to be one.

Today we ended the week of prayer of Christian Unity. We don’t even talk about that hardly at all anymore. I remember when I was a younger priest that was a big thing. We had prayer services, and prayers and whatever and so many other things going on. And it seems like we don’t even care about the unity of Christians. We all believe in the same Jesus, the Same Lord, we have the same baptism. And it doesn’t matter if we follow this person or that person in our political life, but as I said we can’t let that affect who we are as Christians. It’s okay to have diversity. It’s not okay to have divisiveness, to be divided. And that’s very important to us to understand the difference.

I don’t think Saint Andrew was bitter or upset because Peter that all the glory in the long run and we hear very little about seeing through after a while. She certainly is there because we are all following Jesus. We are all following the same Lord the same one who calls us. Calls us to give up that divisiveness. Calls us to give up that attitude, that mindset. If we still have that, that’s something that we’re called to leave. And we’re called to something else as well. The disciples to give up their nets, but we’re also called to follow. To follow in a special way. To be servants. Servants of Jesus and servants of one another. And that’s what it means to be a disciple.

So remember as we continue to live our life of faith as imperfect as it might be sometimes. Sometimes I look at myself in the morning and wonder, am I doing everything I should be doing? Am I doing it the way the Lord wants me to be doing it? You know? I have these questions. I’m sure all of you do as well. And that’s okay to have those questions. But it’s also important to check into our lives, and check into ourselves. Have we given up something? Have we left something to follow Jesus? You don’t need to be leaving your family or your jobs and everything else. Maybe some of you will but that’s another story. But we have to leave something to follow the Lord even stronger.