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Monday, First Week of Advent

November 30, 2009

Blessed Feast of St. Andrew!

Lord, in Your kindness hear our petitions.
You called Andrew the apostle to preach the Gospel
and guide Your Church in faith.
May he always be our friend in Your presence
to help us with his prayers.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Readings:
Romans 10: 9-18 (the Apostles brought the Good News to the whole world)
Psalm 19: 2-3, 4-5 “Their message goes out through all the earth”
+Matthew 4:18-22 (Jesus called Peter & Andrew, James & John)

Today we honor St. Andrew, one of Jesus’ first disciples.  Andrew, whose name means “manly” or “valiant”, was a fisherman from Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44) who became a disciple of St. John the Baptist.  When the Baptist pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, Andrew took the hint and left the Baptist to follow Jesus.  Spending the rest of the day with Jesus was enough to convince Andrew that He was the Messiah, so he hurried to find his brother, Simon Peter, to bring him to Jesus too (John 1: 36-42).  It was to Peter and Andrew, who were in the midst of casting their fishing net, that Jesus said, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).  Andrew was the one who told Jesus of the boy with the five loaves and two fishes at the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:8-9), and when some Greeks told Philip they wanted to see Jesus, Philip went to Andrew and they took the message to Jesus together (John 12:20-22).

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Andrew, now a bishop (the twelve apostles, with Matthias taking the place of Judas Iscariot–see Acts 1:15-26–were the first twelve bishops of the early Church), continued his ministry of bringing people to Jesus, of being a “fisher of men”.  Different writers give differing accounts of where he preached and how far he traveled, but he seems to have ministered in the region of modern-day Greece & Turkey, possibly even into the south-western part of Russia.  He was crucified in Patrae in Achaia (now Greece) on November 30, 60 A.D., during the reign of  Nero.  He is commonly thought to have been crucified on an X-shaped cross, which is why this type of cross is now referred to as St. Andrew’s cross (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907 edition; http://www.NewAdvent.org).

The Church has chosen today as St. Andrew’s feast because this was the day of his homecoming to Heaven.  For him, this was the end of time.  This was the day of his final meeting with Jesus, for which he had longed, for which he was prepared, and for which he had prepared many others.

We, too, are called to be “fishers of men”, as St. Andrew was, bringing the Good News of the Messiah to all the world.  News of Heaven and how to get there is too good to be kept secret!  The problem is that some “fish” don’t want to be “caught”, even when being “caught” is the best thing that could ever happen to them.  A good fisherman knows fish.  He knows where they like to be in various weather conditions, what attracts them and what scares them away.  As fishers of men, we need to be aware of the same sorts of things.  We need to meet people where they are.  We have to be able to present the Gospel in all its attractiveness (without misleading people into thinking it’s not demanding too).  As St. Andrew’s life demonstrates, not everyone will welcome the message.  We may be persecuted or even killed for our efforts.  That’s not all bad.  Jesus said we’d be blessed when people persecuted us for His sake, that our reward would be very great in Heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).  And if we get killed, we get to Heaven all the sooner (that’s the way St. Andrew saw it…)!

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When the apostle [Andrew] saw his cross at a distance, he is said to have cried out; “Hail precious cross, that has been consecrated by the body of my Lord, and adorned with his limbs as with rich jewels. – I come to you exulting and glad; receive me with joy into your arms. O good cross, that has received beauty from our Lord’s limbs: I have ardently loved you, long have I desired and sought you: now you are found by me, and are made ready for my longing soul: receive me into your arms, taking me from among men, and present me to my master; that He who redeemed me on you, may receive me by you.” Upon these ardent breathings St. Bernard writes “When he saw at a distance the cross prepared for him, his countenance did not change, nor did his blood freeze in his veins, nor did his hair stand on end, nor did he lose his voice, nor did his body tremble, nor was his soul troubled, nor did his senses fail him, as it happens to human frailty: but the flame of charity which burned in his breast, cast forth sparks through his mouth.” The saint goes on, showing that fervor and love will make penance and labor sweet, seeing it can sweeten death itself, and, by the unction [anointing] of the Holy Ghost, make even its torments desirable. -Butler’s Lives of the Saints
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May St. Andrew’s prayers gain for us a share in his courage and zeal in spreading the Good News.

Your fellow fisherman,

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 30, 2009 10:23 pm

    🙂 You’re good!

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