Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Andrew, one of the 12 men chosen by Jesus to carry on his mission, and to build and to lead the Church. We know almost nothing about him from the Scriptures. But we do know that Jesus saw him, along with his brother Simon, as they fished along the sea. As he gazed upon them we can only imagine what he saw – but something led him to call out, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” It was an most unconventional way to choose followers, especially to choose men who would be given such a daunting and nearly impossible task. But we can imagine that Jesus saw into their hearts, he saw their goodness, their human potential as beloved sons of the Father, created and fashioned in his own image and likeness. Over time, Jesus’ love, his friendship, his teaching and ministry would lead Andrew, and his brother Simon, despite their faults and weaknesses, to become apostles, leaders, and martyrs for the faith.
God sees us with those same eyes. He looks into our hearts and sees our goodness, our beauty, our potential for greatness. We too have been fashioned after the likeness of God himself. We are more glorious and higher than angels themselves. But we know how often sin mars our appearance; how weakness and laziness can hinder us from becoming whom God desires. And all too often we fall to see others the way God sees them. We are quick to judge; all to hasty to point out another’s defects. Look at the world today in its pleasure at seeing people fall from grace, and how all too many people can easily criticize and demonize the behavior and sins of others, but fail to see and to admit their own imperfections and sins. Its a great danger to our salvation.
We know that God sees us with different eyes than the world does. We are his beloved children. He sees the our inherent dignity and goodness and he offers his grace to help us grow from sinner to saint each and every day. Knowing how God sees us should give us courage and strength to work at becoming that person he created us to be – through gaining virture, through prayer and good deeds and through sacramental grace. But it should also help us to be far less judgmental of others, far more careful to point out someone else’s sins and failings. Can we not see them as God sees – with eyes of love and hope, with eyes of forgiveness and kindness. After all, we are called not only to work towards our own salvation, but to help all those around us to get into heaven as well.