30Nov 30 November. St Andrew, apostle

1st Reading: Romans (10:9-18)

How will they hear the faith, unless it be preached?

If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with he 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.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

Responsorial Psalm ( Ps 18 )

R.: Their word goes out through all the earth

The heavens proclaim the glory of God
and the firmament shows forth the work of his hands.
Day unto day takes up the story
and night unto night makes known the message. (R./)

No speech, no word, no voice is heard
yet their span goes forth through all the earth,
their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

Gospel: Matthew (4:18-22)

The call of the first apostles, including Andrew

As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea — for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.


Without hesitation

We have just heard about the call of Andrew along with his brother Simon Peter and the other two sets of brothers, James and John. There is a great simplicity about the passage. Jesus saw the two brothers, Simon and Andrew, making a cast with their net, going about their daily work, and he called out to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” Immediately the two brothers left their nets and followed Jesus. The evangelist has perhaps streamlined an experience in the lives of these two brothers that, in reality, may have been a lot more complex. You would expect that there must have been some resistence to the call of Jesus, because it meant leaving what they were familiar with and good at and heading out into the unknown.

Catching people is much more challenging than catching fish. Gathering people into the net of God’s kingdom proclaimed by Jesus is much more complicated than gathering fish from the Sea of Galilee into fishing nets. Yet, if there was hesitation in Andrew and Simon, they obviously overcame it; they threw in their lot with Jesus. They became great preachers of the gospel. The way the Lord works in our own lives is perhaps not all that different to the way he worked in the lives of Andrew and Simon. He often calls us out to us in the midst of our daily tasks. He calls us beyond where we are, beyond the familiar, in the service of the coming of God’s kingdom. That call can come to us in small and subtle ways. We may find ourselves resisting it, but if we attend to it and allow it to resonate within us, and respond to it, we will often discover that the Lord works through us for good in ways that can surprise us.

Andrew’s generous spirit

Paraphrased from St. John Chrysostom.. (homily on John 1:35-42)

After Andrew had stayed with Jesus and learned much from him, he did not clutch this treasure to himself, but hurried to share it with his brother. Here is what Andrew said to him: “We have found the Messiah!” (that is to say, the Christ). His words show what he has learned in so short a time. They reveal the power of the master who has convinced them of this truth. What zeal and concern with this question already preoccupied both of them. Andrew’s soul was waiting with utmost longing for the coming of the Messiah; he looked forward to his appearing from heaven, rejoices when he does appear, and hastens to announce this great event to others. To support each other in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, of loving kinship and sincere affection.

Notice, too, how Peter is receptive in spirit. He hastens to Jesus without delay. Andrew brought him to Jesus, says the evangelist. And Peter should not be blamed for so readily accepting Andrew’s word without much questioning it. Probably his brother had given him and many others a full account of the event. The evangelists, in the interest of brevity, often summarise a lengthy narrative. John does not say that Peter believed immediately, but that Andrew brought him to Jesus. Andrew hands him over to Jesus, to learn everything for himself. There was also another disciple present, who hurried off with them for the same purpose.

When John the Baptist said “This is the Lamb who baptizes in the Spirit,” he left the deeper understanding of these things to be received from Christ h imself. Even more so would Andrew act in the same way, since he did not think himself able to give a complete explanation of the one he had met. So he brought his brother to the very source of light, and Peter was so joyful and eager that he would not delay even for a moment, to follow Jesus.


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