Follow me—Second Sunday of Matthew

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

You see, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the pattern of the Lord.  He does not come to give a philosophical system, he does not come with ideas nor teachings, he comes to create a community—to reconstitute the Israel of God in himself from the faithful remnant of the Judeans so that all faithful may come to him.  So, following the infancy narratives in Matthew’s Gospel, Christ is baptised by the Forerunner in the Jordan and goes into the wilderness to combat Satan.  And now, before teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Kingdom and healing he calls together a community.

And this is important for us today.  The Church is not those individuals who have the right doctrines about God, she is the community of believers.  And this community, this gathering, this assembly, is the Church whose head is Christ himself.  For us, as the ancient Christian statement says, “one Christian is no Christian,” because by ourselves we are separate from each other, from the body of Christ, from the Church.

The Lord comes and calls Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  And they leave their nets and follow him: likewise, James and John who even leave their father.  And from this nascent community Christ began his ministry.

And he calls you and he calls me: he says to us, “Come, follow meFollow me through the good times and the bad, follow me through miracles and betrayal, follow me through crucifixion and resurrection.”  We know what’s in store for us if we follow Christ, there are no surprises.  It is a hard road, a journey requiring effort and struggle and things will not always go our way.  What will be your response?  What will be mine?

“Come,” says the Lord, “follow me.”  We may not need to leave our jobs nor our families—though some do!—but we must set aside our sin: we must turn away from wickedness and towards the Lord.  And then, dear brothers and sisters, we may come into contact with the Word of God, Jesus Christ.  For we have as our goal, our destination, union with God along with our fellow Christians.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, turn towards the Lord and follow him.  Be a part of his body, the Church, that we may be a part of him on the Last Day where the Lord will appear in his glory.

And that we may be granted to follow the Lord with our whole soul and our whole mind, being united together as community, and thereby come to true knowledge of him, the Father without beginning, together with his Only-begotten Son and the All-Holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit, Amen.

Brethren, glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
— Romans 2:10–16

At that time, as Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left their boat and their father, and followed him. And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.
— Matthew 4:18–23