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When Peter and Andrew first encountered Jesus, they ended up leaving their trade behind and followed Him. I find that remarkable. They had just met the guy, and now they were rearranging their entire lives. Jesus must have been someone special for them to do that. Take a look at Matthew. He had the best job in the ancient world: tax collector. Imagine sitting at a desk and people lining up in front of you, waiting to give you money. There is no heavy lifting required. All you have to do is check off the box. Jesus walked by him and said, “Follow me.” He left the dream job without hesitation. He didn’t even take five minutes to close the accounts. Again, he just met the guy. What happened at that first encounter that drew him to Christ?
I know because I had a similar experience.
My provincial asked me to hire someone to help me in the office. I first told him I didn’t need anyone, and then he pointed out to me that in the last electronic bulletin, I attached a click option that did not work. Then, no one was around for a delivery because I was at school teaching. So I agreed to find someone. The provincial had told me not to hire anyone until I had found the right person. So, I met with the provincial communications director to write up a job description. It had all kinds of details that I needed to include. Not long after, I met a young professional named Quinn Cunningham. I had a conversation of about 90 seconds. In that brief time, I learned that he graduated from the same college I had graduated from, loves theology and biblical studies, and runs marathons. I run marathons, I thought. So I said to myself, “I like this guy.” I knew he was the one. There were no interviews or discussions about qualifications. I hired him because of chemistry. Through that experience, I now understand why the disciples followed Jesus after a brief encounter. It is all about chemistry. That is why we follow—chemistry with God.
When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she was the first person ever to see God. What did Mary see? She saw herself, “He has my eyes. God has my smile.” What did the shepherds see when they approached the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes? They saw another shepherd. What did the kings see that arrived from the east? They saw another king.
Remember when Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law? Did you notice Peter’s reaction to the mother-in-law’s recovery? That’s right; there was none. No “Thank you” or “How did you do that?” No proclamations such as “Truly you are the Son of God.” Nothing. A few verses later, Jesus is preaching in Peter’s boat. When Jesus finished, he told Peter to go to the deep for a catch. They caught so many fish that they nearly sank two boats. Do you remember Peter’s reaction? He knelt before the Lord as if He was the living God and said to Him, “Depart from me; I am a sinner.” Why does he react now? He sees God at that moment, and he is one of them, a fisherman.
When I see Christ, I see myself as a fellow carpenter who loves Scripture. It is all about chemistry. God is one of us, and that is why we follow.Back to All Homilies