Learning from St. Andrew to Bring Others to Christ, Feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle
November 30, 2013
Rom 10:9-18, Ps 19, Mt 4:18-22

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click here: 

 

The following points were attempted in this homily: 

  • Today we celebrate the feast of the one who was an apostle before he was even called to be an apostle. The Greeks have called him the protoclete because he, in some sense, the first one called, and we could call him likewise the proto-apostolos, because among the apostles at least he was the first one to bring the good news of salvation to others and to bring others to the Lord. We can learn so much from him about our own calling and mission.
  • St. Andrew was hungering for the truth. He was a disciple of St. John the Baptist, but as soon as the Precursor pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, he who takes away the sins of the world!,” Andrew immediately sought to follow Jesus, along with another disciple of the Baptist who was almost certainly the man who would become St. John the Evangelist, the one who would write down the details of the encounter for us (Jn 1). They would have been terrible private investigators, because even though they were tailing Jesus at a distance, he heard them, turned and said, “What do you seek?” In their nervousness they blurted out, “Where are you staying?” Jesus, inviting them into a dialogue and a relationship, said, “Come and see.” Because it was approaching sundown on the Sabbath — so great was the first impression of that first encounter with Jesus that St. John noted the precise time, “about 4 pm” — they needed to spend about the next 26 hours with him. As soon as they were able to travel again after the completion of the Sabbath, Andrew ran to his brother Simon and announced, “We have found the Messiah!” And he brought his brother to Jesus. He wanted his brother to experience the same joy. When Simon came with Andrew to meet Jesus, Jesus said something extraordinary, “You are Simon, son of Jonah. You will be called Cephas (Peter, from the word for Rock). Little did Andrew know what Jesus’ plans would have been for his brother, that he would become the rock on whom Jesus would build his Church, the one to whom he would give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. All he did was bring Simon to Jesus and Jesus did the rest. Likewise, we never know when we bring others to Jesus what he will do with them. They may become the next great saint. They may become a future priest or even pope. What we need to concentrate on is simply sharing the joy of our encounter with Christ with others. We have not only found the Messiah, but we have encountered God and received Him inside of us in Holy Communion! And we’re called to share the joy of that reality with others, seeking to bring our brothers, our sisters, our kids, our siblings, our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends to Jesus and let him reveal to them their vocation in his kingdom.
  • That’s not the only time St. Andrew brought others to Christ. Later on, when Jesus had been teaching the vast crowds for hours, it was getting dark and the people had no food, some of the apostles encouraged Jesus to dismiss the crowd so that they could get something to eat, saying that even 200 days wages would not be enough to feed a multitude of 5000 men not counting women and children (Jn 6). After Jesus told them to give the crowds something to eat, Andrew brought a young boy who had five buns and two fish to Jesus. Jesus took those meager gifts, thanked the Father for them, and miraculously multiplied them in a way that not only the crowd ate to satiation, but they had twelve wicker baskets left over, a tangible reminder for each of the twelve apostles of just what Jesus can do when we bring others and their gifts to him. We, too, should learn the lesson. When we can bring others to Jesus, when we can get them generously to give whatever they have to him, Jesus can multiply those offerings and do tremendous things. Our task, like Andrew, is just to match-make others with the Lord.
  • The third time Andrew did this matchmaking was when a bunch of Greeks came saying, “We wish to see Jesus!” (Jn 12). Philip brought them to Andrew and Andrew brought them to Jesus. As soon as Jesus got word, he exclaimed, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Jesus immediately shifted gears toward the fulfillment of his mission, as a grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying to bear fruit for our salvation. Little did Andrew know when he was bringing these Greeks to meet Jesus that he would be fulfilling the prophecy announced through Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jeremiah that God’s light would be brought to all the nations. He just brought them and the rest, we can say, was salvation history. Likewise we never know what the next stages are in the history of salvation of those we encounter or of the whole world. We just try to bring people to Jesus.
  • Pope Francis, in the apostolic exhortation he gave us on Tuesday, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) is trying to reawaken all of us to the mission of bringing Jesus’ good news to others and bringing others to Jesus. He said something extraordinary in that exhortation. Just like the Church doesn’t have a mission, but is the continuation of Jesus’ mission, so, he said, as a Christian I don’t have a mission either. I am a mission. The whole reason I exist is to fulfill this mission. We are alive to bring the joy of our encounter with Jesus to others. We are breathing so that we can attract others through that joy to come to want to meet the same Savior, Messiah, Son of God. 

The readings for this Mass were: 

Reading 1
ROM 10:9-18

Brothers and sisters:
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.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; forTheir voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. (John 6:63) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
or:
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Gospel
MT 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.