The first action carried out by Jesus in his public ministry was a “vocation”: the calling of the first two disciples. Jesus called them by their name, he called on them to follow in his way, asking them to leave behind everything they had for the news that was to be proclaimed and the mission in which they would participate. In the first place this call required a conversion, in other words a turning of one’s own self towards Jesus and following him with the wish to conform oneself to his person. The vocation already contained a first revelation, in the name of each one of them, and Jesus gave the name Peter to Simon because his mission and his call would be that of being the rock on which the Church of Christ would be founded. The Apostles were then called one by one by their name, so that they could be identified in their uniqueness.
The first experience of one who receives the call is a strong and intimate relation with God; only this type of relation could allow the disciples, who felt loved, to choose to follow Jesus absolutely. The promise that Jesus made to Peter and Andrew was a very major one and required a complete renunciation and faith on their part. They had to leave behind their own habits and their own views, in order to receive life as a gift from God in its entirety, in order to receive the call as a new road to follow leaving aside their own personal projects. One can speak of two types of calls: one that required faith from the disciples, and another that called them to perfection, to follow unconditionally in the way of the Teacher.
The disciples encountered Jesus while they were carrying out their daily lives. It was in this context that Jesus turned to Peter and Andrew, calling on them to follow him while they were working, while they were busy in their daily lives.
Similarly, the language Jesus used with his disciples was typical of that which they used in their daily lives. He turned to them saying: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” From that moment, what had been a simple fisherman’s life on the Sea of Galilee became a new vocation, a mission to proclaim the Love of God, and they left behind their nets, their boats and their families in order to follow Jesus.
In addition, we should take note of the fact that those called came as a pair, two brothers were called: Peter and Andrew. This was because the basis of brotherhood is the relationship between two people, and the vocation was to be fulfilled within community life. The mission, to which they would be sent, could be carried out completely only if they shared and experienced the life of the community. And here we can see a new passage: the called disciples are sent to bring the proclamation of the Gospel and Jesus’ love for all mankind. The mission is the expression and natural result of feeling loved and called by the Lord. As has already been said, the vocation and the mission were community ones, because the community was both the point of departure and arrival for each one; indeed, it was only through their relationship with their brothers that the disciples were able to experience sonship, inasmuch as it is not possible to see yourself as a child unless you also discover yourself to be a brother. It was in this context that the Church was born, the first community of faith whose faith was rooted in Jesus.