top of page


Andrew Lyke

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Behold the Lamb of God" (Jn. 1 35-42).

I believe that we all are called by God to be a part of the force for good in the world. That invitation from God comes to us in varied ways. Without having a relationship with God—a prayer life, it can be easy to miss God’s call. Some of us have profound encounters, like Paul on the road to Damascus getting knocked to the ground (Acts 22:6-7). For most of us, God’s call is more subtle. In significant life events, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, suffering disease, the experience of being loved by another, being forgiven by someone harmed by our actions, and countless other ways, God invites us into a communion of love and reconciliation. It’s from God’s initiative that we are tapped to “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22; Matthew 16:24; Mark 1:17; Luke 9:23).

I first heard God’s call in my childhood in the 1960s. I was enamored by the story of God in my CCD classes. By the time I was in the 7th grade, I was convinced that God was calling me to the priesthood. Despite my enrollment in the minor high school seminary, entering adolescence quieted that call to the celibate priesthood to but a whisper.

Nonetheless, my spiritual and religious formation in the minor seminary gave me a foundation that shaped my relationship with God and opened a channel that connected me to the Spirit. After the tumultuous late 1960s and the birth of my Black consciousness (That’s another blog), I was dismayed with the Catholic Church, the faith I was born into, and the church that raised me. But that did not stop the Spirit’s nudging. Even when I ran away from that nudging, that channel remained open. I could not shake it. It seemed that I was being chased by the Holy Spirit. It was only a matter of time before She caught me.

In hindsight, I see clearly how God’s gentle nudges directed me through life, especially in my late teens and early twenties. There was always something inexplicable that pulled or pushed me into situations that were healthy, safe, nurturing, peaceful, and away from other nefarious available options that may have been more immediate, more rewarding materially, or more pleasurable. The components of that guiding force were family, friends, co-workers, mentors, pastors, my faith community, and my openness to prayer. That healthy force came through that calling from childhood, my spiritual channel to God that has been a constant in my 71 years.

I see my vocation as being one who witnesses to and promotes the will of God. Am I convicted by it? The forces that tempt me toward other options are too ever-present for me to suggest that I am. Though I am confident as a doer of the Word. That’s because of the ever-presence of the forces for good—my blessings, unearned grace, and those components of the guiding force that hold me accountable to God (conscience) and keep me content with life. In a world in which good and evil coexist, we are all dueling with the will of God.

Like the prophet Samuel in the Hebrew Scriptures, we can hear the call and not know that it is God. And like with Samuel, God keeps calling repeatedly.  In this weekend’s Gospel reading (John 1 35-42), John the Baptist points Jesus out to his disciples by proclaiming, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” John’s disciples, perhaps out of curiosity, stalked Jesus. But it was Jesus’ asking them, “What are you looking for?” that started the conversation that led to their staying with Jesus and becoming his disciples. When Andrew, one of John’s disciples, brought his brother Simon to Jesus, it was Jesus who initiated the conversation, letting him know that he already knew who he was, and called him into service as one of the Apostles.

I have come to recognize this spiritual pattern where something prompts me, speaks to me, and draws me into prayer. Through prayerful discernment, I find clarity—instruction, which leads me to act. I have the benefit of practice and a long history of recognizing the signs of the Holy Spirit moving in my life.

 It is God who calls us to come and follow Him, and it is we who have the opportunity to respond. It is a choice to follow Jesus. But it is God who invites us; it is God who initiates our relationship; it is God who loved us first, chases us, and invites us to follow the way of love—Jesus.

Questions for Reflection:

·         What is your vocation? To what is God calling you?

·         Have there been situations in your life where it seemed that the Holy Spirit chased you? What were the circumstances?

·         How would you respond to Jesus’ question, “What are you looking for?”

Autyhor: Andrew Lyke is the retired Director of the Office for Black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago. He served in that role from 2011 to 2015. From 1999 to 2009, he was the Coordinator of Marriage Ministry. He and Terri have led a ministry to marriage that is national in scope since 1982. That work which focuses on sacramental marriage among African Americans. In that work, they have served thousands of couples with retreats, relationship coaching, workshops, and keynote presentations around the United States and the Caribbean. Andrew and Terri are authors of the critically acclaimed book Marriage On A Lampstand: Exploring a New Paradigm for Modern Christian Marriage (Heavenly Light Press).

Andrew is also a Catholic anti-racism activist. As a campus minister at DePaul University in the mid-1990s, he facilitated focus groups with students, faculty, and staff using the “Recovery From Racisms” curriculum. For 14 years, he was a founding member of the “Dwell In My Love” Anti-Racism Taskforce for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page