THURSDAY, THIRTY FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
Rom 10: 9-18; Ps 19: 8-11; Mt 4: 18-22
THE CALL TO PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS
Today we remember St Andrew, the apostle of the Lord. His Greek name means “courageous”. He is the elder brother of Saint Peter and like him was a fisherman. He was a disciple of John the Baptist and one of the first two who followed Jesus. He was a spiritual-minded person. He followed John the Baptist earlier in life and followed Jesus as soon as he experienced his closeness to Him. Just after a night’s stay with Jesus, he convinced even his brother to join the band of Jesus. He is mentioned second in line after his brother Peter in the list of apostles. In Byzantine tradition he is called ‘protokletos’ i.e. the first called. In the year 60 AD, Andrew was tied and hung upon a ‘X’- shaped cross, (today known as Saint Andrew’s cross) to extend his pain and share in the suffering of the Lord. Even from there, it is said, he continued to preach to the faithful for two days, before dying.
It is interesting to note that in the Gospel of John, Andrew is mentioned three times, and each time he is described as an apostle who is introducing someone to Jesus. The first time, he brings his brother Peter to Jesus (Jn 1:41–42). The second time, he facilitates a little boy to present five loaves and two fish to Jesus (Jn 6:8-9). The third time, he is contacted by some Greeks who wanted to meet Jesus (Jn 12:20-36). Like Andrew, since we are also disciples, we ought to bring people to Jesus.
The evangelist John presents an incident wherein Greek Gentiles tell Philip that they want to see Jesus, but Phillip makes Andrew do the job (Jn 12:21). This shows Andrew wielded some authority among the early community itself. Through Andrew they have a brief encounter with Jesus, but “There is to be another, far deeper encounter. The Greeks will indeed “see” him: through the Cross he comes towards them…They will see his “glory”: in the crucified Jesus they will find the true God, the one they were seeking in their myths and their philosophy” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, p. 19).
Today’s feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle, and the Gospel, are inviting us to reflect upon our “Call”. As the people of God, we’re all called to be holy. It is universal; despite our state in life, every person is called to holiness; to union with God! Apart from that, we all have our personal calling. The ordinary call of every man and woman is to enter into a covenant of marriage covenant. To procreate, to build up the society. However, some are called out of the ordinary to an extraordinary calling, to proclaim and to witness with their lives the heavenly realities that await us, by dedicating their lives to God for the service of the Church and our communities.
However, the work of evangelization is not limited only to the ordained ministers of the Church. It is the call and duty conferred on us by the virtue of our baptism. Yes, not all of us are called to preach from the pulpits. But all of us our called to proclaim Christ by our lives. In a world where the persecution of Christians is increasing everyday, it becomes difficult to proclaim out aloud. However, nothing will stop us from living a life that reflect Christ, which speaks louder than the words.
Lumen Gentium of the Vatican Council II says that: “In the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thes. 4:3; Eph. 1:4). However, this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others; in a very special way this (holiness) appears in the practice of the counsels, customarily called “evangelical.”
The conditions of the society in which we live oblige all of us therefore to revise methods, to seek by every means to study how we can bring the Christian message to the modern person. Therefore, let us proclaim Christ and His Kingdome by the living faithfully our lives, becoming the fishers of men.
Response: Their sound goes forth through all the earth.
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