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Jesus’ gaze comes first: How to know we’re born for a reason

St. Peter and Andrew Caravaggio

Domaine public

Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew, Caravaggio

Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 11/30/22

Our life doesn’t result from our own decision but from the decision of others who put us in a position to live and then to be able to decide.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

The feast of the Apostle Andrew gives us an opportunity to reread the story of his calling along with that of the other early disciples:

“As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” 

Jesus’ gaze precedes their decision. This sounds like a trivial consideration but it isn’t. In fact, our life doesn’t result from our own decision but from the decision of others who put us in a position to live and then to be able to decide. There’s a gift that precedes us and is the foundation of every vocation, every choice, every great thing that affects our lives. 

Knowing this helps us not to forget that we are born for a reason, and are not simply born. Each of us is the bearer of a mysterious purpose that slowly reveals itself in life each time we find the courage to make choices. Indeed, the radicalness of Andrew, Peter, and all the others is what is striking in the Gospel account: “At once they left their nets and followed him.” 

Choosing is not a way of moving from the uncertain to the certain, but rather its opposite: It is the courage to leave the certain for something greater, but we have to take a risk to make it reveal itself. We live in a world in which most of us seek reassurance but not decisions. It’s only in the latter, however, that God works powerfully.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

DiscipleshipGospelLiturgyMassPrayerSpiritual Life
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