It is the beginning of a community of disciples surrounding Jesus (Jn. 1:35-51). The conditions to be a disciple are clearly stated. The two disciples that have heard John’s testimony follow Jesus. Jesus turns and sees that these two men are following him. He says to them: What are you looking for? They answer him: Rabbi where do you live, where are you staying? Jesus invites them to come with him: Come and see. These two men, followers of John, followed Jesus; they stayed with him, and remained with him the whole day. We know one of them is Andrew (Jon. 1:40).
Jesus invited them personally; it was an invitation to believe in him, to be with him to remain with him, to stay by his side. It was an invitation to learn the communion existing between the Father and the Son. It was an invitation to see His glory; an invitation that from the very beginning presents a irrecusably requirement: to remain faithfully in the footsteps of Jesus. If one follows Jesus, it is necessary to remain with him; only then the disciple will be able to enter into full communion with the Father.
Andrew and the other disciple remained with Jesus the whole day; they experienced a unique and deep encounter with Jesus, the experience was such that they could not keep it to themselves, they needed to tell others inviting them to enter into communion with them. Andrew gives witness to his brother Peter. Peter goes where Jesus, he encounters and experiences Jesus in a distinctive way, and is transformed by Jesus into a new man.
In summary, to be a disciple of Christ one has to:
- Be called by Jesus, to have a special encounter with him
- Follow Jesus: to share into his life with the communion formed around him
- Have a personal experience of encountering Jesus
- Remain, to commit oneself to live faithfully day by day in his footsteps
Jesus is the one who takes the initiative to call to follow him. The person who is called has to listen and to accept that invitation, and I so doing, the person becomes a member of the community of disciples. Together they enter into the mystery of who Jesus is, and where Jesus has his home, Jesus is always in the boson of the Father, and there the disciples will be. Only one thing is necessary for the disciple to do, he/she has to remain faithful in the following of Jesus, accepting even death, death on the cross.Jesus encounters a woman, a Samaritan (Jn. 4). He is waiting for her at the well of Sicar. When the woman arrives it is Jesus who addresses her. Jesus reveals himself as the living water gushing up to eternal life. The woman faith journey started acknowledging the presence of a man, a Jew, from there she moves to wonder whether this man is more that Jacob who gave them the well, and gets to the point of questioning whether he is the Messiah they are expecting to come. I am he, says Jesus. And the woman, when the disciples that went to look for food returned, leaves her water jar and goes to her village and gives witness to Jesus to the people. She does not need the jar anymore. She has encounter Jesus, the living water, she has experienced his love and care, and cannot keep it to herself. As Andrew did, now the Samaritan woman tells the people in the village: Come and see…
Another encounter of Jesus that leads to discipleship. Jesus heals a blind man (Jo. 9). He gives sight to a blind man; Jesus takes the initiative, he tells the blind man to go to the pool of Siloam (the pool of the Sent). This blind man to receive the sight, to be in the Light, has to plunge himself into Jesus. He comes out seeing, and acknowledging, giving witness of who Jesus is. He has the courage to risk his belonging to the synagogue, they expel him from the Jewish community, the synagogue, and Jesus again approaches him and reveals who he is. The man who was blind and now see makes a profession of faith: Lord I believe in you. He has had to leave the comfort of belonging to the synagogue to enter into the community of Jesus disciples.
To be a disciple requires of the person to let go of anything that is an obstacle to follow Jesus. Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, the woman from Samaria, the man born blind, they all had to let go of what they believe was their livelihood, and had to embrace the cross as an instrument of glorification. They all heard the voice of the good shepherd calling them to follow him (Jo. 10:1-6),
Discipleship in the life of a Claretian Missionary Sister follows what this gospel tells about discipleship. We, and those who would like to join this religious family, have heard the voice of Jesus, the good shepherd calling us to live in intimacy with him; he has pronounced our name, we have heard him calling us and have answered leaving aside what we had and have followed him. We are called to remain in his love, to be faithful to the “yes” we have given him. Discipleship for us is detailed in our “Blanco y Fin”, to accept the cross, to surrender our “self”, affections, passions, desires, projects, …, following with joy the good shepherd that calls us and guides us to green pastures, where we will be able to rest in his open heart pierced by the lance of the soldier.
For us, Claretian sisters, discipleship opens for us a journey of faith in the footsteps of Jesus; it reminds us that it is not enough the “yes” we said when we first heard the call, it is imperative that we remain faithfully in this “yes”, as our Blessed Mother Mary, who always treasured in her heart the call and the events as they were displayed in her faith journey.