Second Sunday after Pentecost
“Calling of the First Apostles”
It’s the second Sunday after Pentecost (The Feast of the dessension of the Holy Spirit on the disciples). The Gospel Reading is from (Matthew 4:18-23), which speaks about calling the first Apostles. The calling of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and Jacob the son of Zebedee and his brother John. The Sunday following Pentecost is called “All Saints Sunday”, in which we commemorate all the Saints in the Orthodox Church, whether they are known and recognized (canonized) officially or unknown or their sainthood has not yet been announced. We celebrate All the Saints after Pentecost to acknowledge that the “The Holy Spirit” is the one who makes Saints. He is the source and fountain of holiness, He gives the spirit of Holiness and He is the one that blesses the faithful and makes them “Saints”.
The second Sunday after Pentecost also shows us the work of the Holy Spirit and his acts in the Church by inviting dedicated workers to the Apostolic mission.
Today’s Gospel shows us the start of Christianity, which grew from a small group. Twelve Apostles were invited to be of humble service to other, who were mostly fishermen of no education, knowledge or social stature. They were men living on the outskirts of Lake Tiberias actively fishing. Interestingly, when Jesus called the first Apostles, they were not unemployed, or out of work, but they were in the middle of their businesses. They were preoccupied with their work. “They were throwing their nets at sea”.
The Lord Jesus called them and as the Bible says: “Immediately they left the nets and followed him”, they didn’t hesitate to leave their livelihood and their lives to follow Jesus. He did not promise riches, position or status to them, He said one sentence “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”. The same scenario is repeated with John and Jacob, the sons of Zebedee; they were fixing their nets with their father. “Immediately they left the boat, their father, and followed Him.” It seems that these pupils did not hesitate for a second to become missionaries, that is, the “fishers of men.” What calls for attention on this first Sunday after Pentecost, is that first and second calls were to two brothers; that is two persons from the same family were called to serve the Lord. These Apostles and others, were given but one commandment by the Master, “go make disciples of all Nations”.
On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave them grace and wisdom, understanding and strength, that was not of this world, but from above, God’s abundance. The strength, which gave the disciples the power of Evangelism, to reach Rome and other extremities of the earth like, India and Africa; to preach Christ who has risen from the dead! Every baptised Christian, who has received the Holy Chrism, is called to serve the Lord by their talents, abilities, and resources. Certainly there are callings through the mysteries of the Holy Priesthood or through the ascetic vows; however everyone is invited to be a disciple of Jesus, to take his place in the Evangelism. All from their baptismal day are dedicated to the Lord, “All ye who have been baptised unto Christ; have put on Christ.”
When we say “Yes” to the Lord, it means that we should say “No” to the things of importance of this world. We are called to abandon the Nets that tie us to the things of this world, which prevent us from following Christ. The traps of this world are many, with multiple deceptions, however it was Jacob and his brother John, who were “Fixing the nets” when the Lord called them and “they left everything and followed Him.” In the Church and through the sacred sacraments we live a continuous Pentecost. All are called according to their talents and ability to meet the Lord’s calling, to become a fisher of men, to pursue them, so they know the true God and His Heavenly Kingdom.
A M E N
Metropolitan Basilios Kodseie