Second Sunday after epiphany Jesus' First Disciples John 1:35-42 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39 "Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
The Gospel of this second Sunday after the Epiphany follows directly the baptism of Jesus, according to St John who tells us this event and the vocation of the first disciples, during three days, using the expression “the next day” (John 1:29; 1:35; 1:43). On the following day, John the Baptist confessed to his two disciples that Jesus is “The Lamb of God”. Thus, he prepared directly the way of Jesus and not only through testimony and baptism, but by calling his disciples to follow Jesus, implementing his words: “He must increase but I must decrease”. Moreover, he revealed a personal and a parental link with Jesus trough the expression “he stared at him”, indeed, for they met since they were in the wombs (Luc 1:39, 45). For this reason, the two disciples were impressed by his words, thus, they followed Jesus calling Him “Rabbi”, an Aramaic word meaning my master, my lord. This title was given to great masters and great teachers. That day, they stayed with him, and it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon, which confirms, according to tradition, that the other disciple is the evangelist John himself due to the proofs mentioned in the text on the witness of John and because the four gospels mention that the first four disciples were: Peter, Andrew, John and Jack. Some researchers consider that the other disciple is Philip whom presence dominates with the company of Andrew in the fourth Gospel. For this reason, Andrew first met his brother Simon and told him, “We found the Mashiah (The Messiah)” (which means that Andrew is the first to meet Simon and was the first among the twelve apostles). We have to point out that “Mashiah” is an Aramaic word used in the New Testament but in the Gospel according to John. The word “Messiah” refers to the anointed person. On the third day after the baptism of Jesus, Philip attracts Nathanael towards Jesus (John 1:45). Their company appears again during the miracle of the multiplication of bread and fishes (John 6: 5-9). Both have attracted as well Greek to Jesus during the feast (John 12: 20-22). As for the end of the text, i.e. the verse 42 is the ideal of Christian vocation trough what follows: First, “Jesus stared at him” means that he wants to be in contact with him as Jesus looked at the young wealthy man and loved him (Marc 10: 21). God calls man and let him the freedom to choose. Second, “Cephas” is an Aramaic word meaning the “rock”. Peter is a Greek word that has the same meaning. It is a nickname that marks the mission of Simon already mentioned in the Caesarea of Philip (Mathew 16:18), to become later on his surname. Thus, we understand the surname’s changing during the canonic ordination and the pronunciation of the monastic vows, sign of the death of the ancient person and the birth of the new man. A new mission may be added to that trusted by the “rock” of our salvation, the fact of announcing the penitence and the expansion of the Kingdom of God (Mathew 3:2). My dear brothers, let each one of us evaluate his own vocation and be attached to it again, bearing in mind that there is no peace and no holiness out of the relation with the Lord and St Charbel is the proof for us as well as for his beloved country Lebanon. Amen