Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Rm 10:9-18; Ps 19:8-11; Mt 4:18-22:   The laws, the decree, the precepts, the command, the fear, the ordinances of the LORD are all together the Word of the Lord, and that Word became flesh and dwells among us.  It is that Incarnate Word, who encountered Saint Andrew and his brother Saint Peter, and Saint John and his brother Saint James, on the shore working at their fishing jobs.  It is the Lord Jesus who summoned them to come after him so that he could make them fishers of men.  Such a word refreshed their souls, rejoiced their hearts, and enlightened their eyes. The Eternal Word become flesh spoke to Saint Andrew and he could not resist the summons.  The Word of the Lord, speaking the words of the Lord, was more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold.  This Word was like a sweet song in the hearts of those who heard and responded; it was sweeter than syrup or honey from the comb.  Indeed the word of summons came through the breath of the Spirit and gave new life to Saint Andrew.  New life deep within that could not stay put; Saint Andrew could not contain the new life.  He had to spread the good news of the new life available from the One Who Calls. In the words of the letter to the Romans, Saint Paul would have called Saint Andrew and all the Apostles men with beautiful feet because they brought good news from Christ’s own lips to the ends of the earth.  It continues to happen in our day as it did on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Men and women, young and old, rich and poor, intelligent and simple, all people are summoned to hear with the ear of the heart and to respond with life-long faithfulness.  Indeed, the Incarnate Word still speaks to the human heart and he still gives wisdom to the simple.

Such is the faith that comes through hearing, hearing the word that is Christ.  This Christ speaks personally and intensely to the heart of everyone he encounters.  He seeks to bring all the children of God back to their home with the Father and in the Holy Spirit.  It is the beautiful faith of Saint Andrew and his fellow Apostles that still shines bright with the Light of Christ into the world of darkness and pain.  These first calledfollowers of Christ were sent as preachers like the great preacher, Isaiah.  Not measuring or monitoring the success of the mission by the size of the crowds who came to hear or the number of people baptized.  Indeed like Isaiah the Apostles proclaimed a message that was not easy to hear or easy to respond to.  Few among Jews or Gentiles wanted to hear that the Father loves us all, and He wants us all to share in his life, eternal life.  Such a radical call to holiness can only be delivered by someone who has himself heard it, believed it, and lives it.  Perhaps that’s why some two thousand years later there are still so many who have not heard the good news, because they have not heard it preached in deed as well as word.  The apostolic zeal has yet to permeate the entire church.  Everyone baptized in Christ and confirmed by the Holy Spirit is consumed by the Father’s desire to have all his children come home. That’s why Saint Andrew is so appropriately celebrated at the end of a liturgical year or in the beginning of a liturgical year.  If this Advent Season is to give birth to Christ in our world, it must first give birth to Christ in our hearts.  For those who believe in the heart and profess with their lips that Jesus is Lord come to life in the New Born Savior.  Filled with the zeal of the first called, Advent 2010 will make us fishers of men.

Saint Peter and Saint John are the only two Apostles who are well-developed personalities in the Gospels. Saint Andrew and the others are seldom mentioned.  In the synoptic tradition, the brothers four were called on the same day.  The most specific aspect of their lives mentioned in the text is that all shared a common profession.  The fact that they were fishermen was used by the Lord Jesus to entice them to follow him so that he could make them fishers of men.  If they followed the Lord Jesus they would be catching the attention, hearts, lives of all who by the Holy Spirit came to believe in Christ and in those whom he sent forth with his power and his teaching. The Gospel of Saint John presents Saint Andrew as a disciple of The Baptist.  It was Saint John the Baptist who pointed to the Lord Jesus and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God.”  It was Saint Andrew and Saint John who then came up to the Lord to ask, “Rabbi, where do you live?”  The Lord Jesus then gave his invitation, “Come and see!”  Both gospel accounts emphasize the power of the call and the immediacy of the response.  The Lord Jesus may say, “Follow me!” or he may say “Come and see!” or he may use other words, or no words at all.  Whatever the summons in our lives, it still has the power of Christ himself, and we have great delight in responding—whole-heartedly and immediately. Indeed, the First Called, Saint Andrew is patron of all who hear and respond during Advent and throughout the liturgical year.