30 Nov – Feast of St Andrew, Apostle
Andrew was the first Apostle of Jesus Christ. He was a fisherman by trade, and the brother of Simon Peter. He was a follower of John the Baptist. Andrew went through life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. He was a missionary in Asia Minor and Greece, and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. He was martyred on a saltire (x-shaped) cross, and is said to have preached for two days from it.
- Patron Saint Index
If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. When scripture says: those who believe in him will have no cause for shame, it makes no distinction between Jew and Greek: all belong to the same Lord who is rich enough, however many ask his help, for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
But they will not ask his help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says: The footsteps of those who bring good news are a welcome sound. Not everyone, of course, listens to the Good News. As Isaiah says: Lord, how many believed what we proclaimed? So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ. Let me put the question: is it possible that they did not hear? Indeed they did; in the words of the psalm, their voice has gone out through all the earth, and their message to the ends of the world.
As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.
Let me put the question: is it possible that they did not hear?
It’s amazing how deaf the youth of today have become. Recollections of having to endure blasting music from the earphones of young people oblivious to the discomfort of the people around them and the damage to their eardrums come back to me as I prepare this reflection because in a similar way, we are called to be persistently loud in spreading the message of God to those around us.
St. Paul reminds us in the first reading of today that it is important for us to spread the Word of God to Christians and non-Christians alike. Certainly the message has been spread across to these people for I am sure that most people in the world would have some idea of Christianity since major celebrations such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Whitsunday are often public holidays in countries. Our role in this case is to follow the example of St. Andrew whose feast we celebrate today.
St. Andrew always pointed people towards Jesus. Two incidents should come to mind: the bringing of the child bearing the five loaves and two fishes and introducing the Greek visitors to Jesus together with Philip (John 12:22). I believe that we should also learn to adopt St. Andrew’s example and share with all people the joy of Christianity.
We do not need to be overbearingly loud like the music example in the beginning of today’s sharing but we can share our Christian fervour by being examples of true charity towards others in our family, workplace and parish. It is important that we learn the importance of being humble and acknowledging that we should serve as signposts to those who want to learn more about Jesus. Our lives should not be the same as those in the world but be an anti-thesis to the secular values of the world.
Tradition has it that St. Andrew was crucified on a cross shaped like the letter ‘X’. The ‘X’ marks the spots where the treasure is to be found on maps in children stories and cartoons involving pirates. Let us also be this sign to all whom we meet and point them towards the true Treasure whom we encounter whenever we receive the Holy Eucharist.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)
Prayer: St. Andrew, pray for us
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to those who patiently bear the faults of others.
Thu, 01 Dec – Isaiah 26:1-6; Matthew 7:21.24-27
Fri, 02 Dec – Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31
Sat, 03 Dec – 1 Corinthians 9:16-19.22-23; Mark 16:15-20; Feast of St Francis Xavier, Presbyter Religious (Principal Patron of the Missions)
Sun, 04 Dec – Isaiah 40:1-5.9-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8; Second Sunday of Advent