– Br. Michael, ofm
Near the start of Ordinary Time in the church year we often hear stories about the beginning of the ministry of Jesus which includes the calling of the disciples. These stories may feel familiar to us. We know Jesus called fishermen, a tax collector and other ordinary men to be his apostles.
As I was reflecting on Matthew’s version (4. 18-22) of Jesus calling the fishermen Simon and Andrew, and James and John, I was struck by a phrase repeated twice, “He saw two brothers.” This phrase has never jumped out to me before. We know that Simon and Andrew are brothers as are James and John, not really a big deal. Yet in some ways I think it is a big deal. Jesus calls two sets of brothers as his first followers. His inner circle is made up of men who had a bond, knew each other intimately, and could push each other’s buttons. In calling two sets of brothers Jesus called families to surround him and form the nucleus of his family of apostles. I think this is significant, speaking to heart of Jesus and this value in relationships.
I find hope in this as I consider my own life. My attention is immediately brought to my own blood brothers – two very different men. Two men who I have loved for a lifetime even in having pushed each other’s buttons a lot. Two men who have made me laugh and made me cry and also have taught me the importance of a bond, even if fragile.
I am also aware of those who have become brother to me. An unique group of men who have given my heart a place to grow, nourished me with story and their hearts and what it means to be seen. This unique group of men have not all met each other and yet I have experienced community because of each of them. I am also attentive to the community of men who I share life with as Franciscans. The currently community I live with are all older than me. This is a lot of big brothers. These men witness to me what it means to be a seeker in a community and how to witness. Each of these unique groups of brothers have impacted me in profound ways because of relationship and a bond we share. Each of these men in unknowing ways to themselves have shown me Christ.
This is the big deal where my hope lies in the phrase, “he saw two brothers.” It is through the gift of relationships we encounter Christ. Yes, Jesus sees us, however I believe it is through bonds we share with others that we can come to see him and hear our call to follow him. Through bonds of family or chosen family we come to see the depth of relationship and being called. I am grateful for the nucleus of the above-mentioned men and our bond (there is whole other reflection to write about the amazing women in life). These men continually remind me of love’s strength and the intimacy of Christ.
Who do you share a strong bond with?
Who is a part of your inner circle?
How have they shown you Christ?
How do you express your siblinghood with Christ?
Photo Credit: Tyler Nix