An Apostolic Augury
”Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.“ ~ Romans 10:18
On the threshold of the Advent Season, our Church pauses to celebrate the Feast Day of the great Saint Andrew, apostle, fisherman and martyr, whose evangelical mission took him primarily through the region of the Black Sea and into Greece. It was here that he spread the good news, the story of the redemptive and redeeming love that could only be found through his friend Jesus. This mission would ultimately cost him his life by way of Crucifixion in the city of Patras on November 30 in the year 60AD on a cross in the shape of an X; he deemed himself unworthy of being hung upon a cross that bore the shape of his Master’s.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a huge devotee of Saint Andrew, quick to point out that “Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist, and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel’s hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the very presence of the Lord.” What better way to enter the Advent Season then to remember and celebrate Jesus’ first disciple.
“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.” Paul explains to the Romans to kick off today’s 1st Reading (Romans 10:9-18). “No one who believes in him will be put to shame,” he goes on to say, adding that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But in the midst of this hope-filled message, Paul then pauses to underscore the importance of evangelical discipleship. He asks:
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?
Thank God for Saint Andrew and the modern day priest, deacons and religious who walk in his footsteps. You may have a Saint Andrew in your life. You may be the Saint Andrew in someone else’s life, a bright light that shines amidst the dull and languid secular world that otherwise takes center stage. As Advent approaches, let us bask in the light of these great Saints, those who ran the race, competed well for the faith, and provide us with the hope that we too can achieve heavenly glory.
“Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.” ~ Saint Andrew Christmas Novena Prayer
For more on the Feast of Saint Andrew, please revisit my Reflection from last year: