“Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah.”

John 1:40-41

Thursday, 21 January 2021

John 1:35-42

The excitement of discovery, of clarity about one’s calling, is contagious. We’ve all experienced it in different ways. For some, it may be a book or a website that helps us understand ourselves better, a management guru whose ideas resonate with us as we try to build a business. It can be a political theory that offers us a sense of meaning and purpose. It can be a faith too. Whatever it is, the result is not just that it changes us but that we want to share it with our family or friends so that they too may benefit. In short, we want them to be part of our adventure, our calling.

One of the possible criticisms we might have is that Campbell’s idea of the Hero’s Journey is individualistic. His use of myths and stories might be called a ‘monomyth’ and an endorsement of a ‘Great Man’ (yes, usually it is a man) theory of society. But it need not be so. Though each person embarks on their own personal calling – and the way it specifically plays out is distinctive to her/him – the calling is normally lived in community. Many great hero’s journeys are in fact collective quests – think of the characters in J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each character has a personal story, personal challenges and achievements along the way – but their quest is only successful because they all journey together.  

We see a similar dynamic played out in this passage from the Gospel of John. Andrew tells his brother Simon Peter that they have found the Messiah, the true leader, the true mentor they must follow on their Hero’s Journey. They become Jesus’ first disciples and later the founders of the Christian Church. Each one has a particular journey, as scripture and early church traditions tell us – one goes to one place, another to another, experiencing various challenges along the way. But collectively, the disciples’ story is that of the foundation of the Christian faith.

Loving God,

May we be enthusiastic in the communication to others of our true callings. May we welcome others as our companions on the journey.

Amen.

 
Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

a.egan@jesuitinstitute.org.za
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