Thursday, November 30, 2017

St. Andrew

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Andrew the apostle, and that's very good thing since poor St. Andrew often gets overlooked. 

Andrew, St. John's Gospel tells us, was a disciple of John the Baptist and met Jesus through him. Then he introduced his younger brother Simon to this wonderful Rabbi, Whom John had identified as the Lamb of God and Whom Andrew believed was the Messiah they had so long awaited. 

Simon and Andrew both left their nets by the shore and followed Jesus when He called them to become fishers of men. Imagine that; Andrew put aside his whole life, his whole livelihood, and set out on a new adventure. He took a risk; he jumped into the unknown. He trusted Jesus even though he could see nothing of the future. 

Later, when the hungry crowds gathered and Jesus asked Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat,” Andrew spoke up. “There is boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish,” he told Jesus, but he couldn't help adding, “But what are they among so many people?” It's a very practical question really. Andrew couldn't see how such a little bit could help, but he was at least willing to go to Jesus with that little bit and place it in His hands. Then, of course, he witnessed a miracle.

A while later, some Greeks approached Philip wanting to meet Jesus. Philip went to Andrew with the request, and they both told Jesus, Who proceeded to teach them how they could keep their lives only by losing them. Did Andrew understand what He meant? Perhaps not right then, but he soon would.

We hear nothing else specifically about Andrew in the Gospels. He was not with Peter, James, and John during the Transfiguration or in the garden, but he certainly was a witness to Jesus' teachings and miracles, and he would have been present at the first Eucharist and at Jesus' post-Resurrection visit in the Upper Room. However, Andrew tends to fade into the background, and we tend to forget about him. 

Tradition tells us that after the Resurrection Andrew traveled through Greece and Turkey and around the Black Sea, preaching the Gospel as he went, and that he was martyred on an X-shaped cross at Patras in Greece. His relics remain there today.

Did Andrew perhaps get a little annoyed when Jesus called his younger brother Peter to be one of His inner circle? Did he feel left out and envious when he wasn't invited to go up the mountain of the Transfiguration or when he had to stay behind in the garden when Peter, James, and John went on with Jesus? Perhaps. But Andrew soon learned that he had his own role to play in spreading the Gospel message. It wasn't the same as Peter's position, or that of the other apostles, but it was important just the same, and he embraced it. In fact, he died for it.

There's a lesson for us here. We, too, may sometimes feel left out and envious as we watch others do important work for Jesus. We may wish we could do the same. But like Andrew, we each have a role that Jesus has designed especially for us. Through prayer, we must identify and embrace that position, that job, whatever it is, and then throw ourselves into it wholeheartedly, just like Andrew did. Even when we feel overlooked and under-appreciated, we must always remember, as Andrew learned, that Jesus has chosen each of us, loves us more than we can know, and sets us on just the right path that will guide us to eternal life with Him.

For more about St. Andrew, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment