by Joel V. Ocampo
On November 30, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Andrew, one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ. According to the Church Tradition, he is called “The First Disciple” because in the Gospel written by St. John, he was the first to follow Jesus, the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:40).
According to the John’s Gospel, this is how it happened, “The next day John [the Baptizer] again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother” (John 1:35-40). Based on this Gospel passage, Andrew and the unnamed disciple were the first to follow Jesus.
After some time, “As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:16-18). The name “Andrew” came from Greek name Ἀνδρέας (Andreas), which was derived from ἀνδρεῖος (andreios) meaning “manly” or “masculine”, a derivative of ἀνήρ (aner) meaning “man.” The word “manly” can also mean “brave”, “courageous”, “bold”, or “fearless.” If we read the other Gospel passages, we can see and learn from St. Andrew, how to be courageous, brave, bold, and fearless, in participation in the mission of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
BE COURAGEOUS IN LEADING OTHER PEOPLE TO CHRIST
After St. Andrew’s first encounter with the Lord, he first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah.” Then, he brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (John 1:41-42).
In the story of the Feeding the Five Thousand, it was St. Andrew who brought the boy who has five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus (Jn. 6:8-9). We know that because of this boy, the Lord was able to feed the five thousand.
When the Greek-speaking Jews who came to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem wanted to see Jesus, it was St. Andrew and St. Philip who brought them to the Lord (John 12:20-22).
BE COURAGEOUS TO ASK WHEN YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THINGS
We have a famous line in Filipino, “Huwag mahiyang magtanong” (Do not be ashamed to ask). When the Lord Jesus said something about what will happen in the future, St. Andrew, along with the other three disciples courageously asked Him about it (Mk. 13:1-3). Thus, they received an answer from the Lord who said, “Beware that no one leads you astray” (Mk. 13:4).
Before the navigation applications were invented, when we go to a certain place that is new to us, and found ourselves astray or lost, we ask for direction. Similarly, when we do not understand the many occasions in life, when we do not understand well our role in the mission of Christ, like St. Andrew, be courageous to ask for guidance. After all, there is no one who “know it all”.
Statue of St. Andrew at the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, Parañaque City Photo by Tito Santos
Let us ask the intercession of St. Andrew the Courageous Apostle so that we too would become courageous in participating in the Mission of the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Dear Lord, we thank You for giving us St. Andrew the Apostle as an example of holiness. Help us to imitate his virtue in our daily lives, throughout the work we do each day.
St. Andrew, you were no stranger to hard work. You spent much of your life performing the physical labor involved in the life of a professional fisherman. You did not move away from the demands of this work. Instead, you embraced it and attempted to do it well. When Jesus called you to leave your work behind and become a “fisher of men,” you immediately left your old life and dived into a new kind of work for the glory of God. Pray for me, as I strive for holiness amidst my daily work. Pray that, like you, my life may revolve around devotion to Christ. Amen.
St. Andrew the Apostle, pray for us!
The relic of St. Andrew at the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, Parañaque City