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The Feast of Saint Andrew


”Behind every specific call, whether it is to teach or preach or write or encourage or comfort, there is a deeper call that gives shape to the first: the call to give ourselves away - the call to die.” ~ Michael Card

We take a short respite from the Prophet Isaiah and the Advent Readings today, swapping violet vestments for red to commemorate the Martyrdom and Feast Day of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee, Andrew first became a disciple of John the Baptist , eventually going on to follow Jesus. His early ties to John the Baptist show us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel’s hope, and who yearned to understand far better the word and presence of the Lord.

He would introduce his brother Peter to Jesus, who in turn would also immediately become a follower, disciple, and eventually the Rock upon which Jesus would build his church With fellow Apostle Phillip, Andrew presented the Gentiles to Christ, and in one of Jesus’ more seminal moments, he pointed out the boy with the loaves and fishes

On the heels of Pentecost, Andrew is said to have preached the Gospel throughout many regions, most notably Greece and Turkey. He would ultimately go on to meet his fate in Achaia where he was crucified on an “X” shaped cross. Like his brother Peter, he deemed himself unworthy to be nailed to the same type of cross as Jesus. His executioner honored his final request.

As the quote that kicks off this reflection suggests, today is about being called and sent as Saint Andrew was called and subsequently sent on that very real and fateful day along the Sea of Galilee in a Gospel Passage(Matthew 4:18-22) that we revisit every year on his Memorial. Jesus has called each one of us. Through patient discernment, trial and error, and prayer, we come to understand and embrace this calling.

Everyone has a vocation to some form of life-work. However, beyond that call ~ and far, far deeper than any worldly calling ~ is the vocation that has been breathed into our very soul; to know, love and serve God snd our neighbors. To share the salvific message of Jesus’ undying love and mercy with those in our midst. With regard to the latter, it has very little to do with donning a rainbow wig and sitting in the south endzone of L.A. Coliseum with a “John 3:16”’ sign in our hands. Living the Gospel attracts others to the Gospel’s protagonist.

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The same fundamental questions pervade human life regardless of culture, social status, race, religion or political persuasion.
Who am I?” Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?”

Renowned artist Émile Zola once said of her vocation, her calling as it were, “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” As Catholics, we too must live out loud. To compete with the secular excess of our fallen world. To defend the truth against the lies that in many cases have entered rather deeply into the realm of the absurd. To tell everyone in our midst who Jesus is and what he has done for us.

In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Deitrich Bonhoeffer explains that “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” The authentic Christian is called to die to one’s self. To die to this world. To die so that we may live. Like Saint Andrew, to move beyond being a mere admirer of Jesus and become a follower

In our 1st Reading today (Romans 10:9-18), Saint Paul boldly proclaims “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Saint Andrew knew in his heartthat Jesus was God. That something was happening here that was worth leaving everything for

May Saint Andrew’s example inspire us to follow Jesus with promptness. To heed the advice be Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who urges us to “Speak enthusiastically about Jesus to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning to life and death.”

Saint Andrew, pray for us…

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