Imagine yourself … on the banks of the river.
Repent, he is saying. Return to God. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heaven, you think to yourself, how wonderful that will be. That man across the water, is he the savior we have been longing to see?
You are Andrew. Today, we celebrate your day as the “protoclete” or “first-called” by Christ.
You have lived a hard life, working as a fisherman with your brother, Peter. You have seen injustices in the world but have been powerless to fight back. This man’s preaching on the rocks, it sounds so promising. So real. So true.
But something just short of complete fulfillment. Even he tells you after a certain baptism … Go, he says, follow Him, “the Lamb of God.”
Filled with hope, you follow this new man, this stranger whom you come to know as Jesus.
On your journey, one of the first major tasks is to stop and see your brother to tell him that you have found the Messiah … the one whom God promised.
It would not be the last time you told a friend, a family member, an authority or a complete stranger that you have begun to follow this incredible man who seems to speak on behalf of God while performing miracles.
How long Andrew had waited.
Andrew’s Advent was much longer than the four weeks we have today to prepare Him room, as the joyful hymn tells us to do.
We pray today that you have found Jesus and have prepared room in your heart for his first and second coming. But we also pray for others who have not … and just as Andrew did, we ask God to soften the hearts of those who turn away from Him.
As we observe the first week of Advent, it’s fitting to reflect on the hope and anticipation of Andrew. As a disciple of John the Baptist, he clearly had ears to hear the good news and the obedience to listen to John when he sent them on their way to follow Jesus.
Key to Andrew’s story is the introduction of Jesus to his brother, Peter, the rock, who would become the leader of the growing band of followers we now call the Apostles. Have you introduced anyone to Christ lately? By actions, if not by words?
Scripture indicates it was also Andrew who pointed out to Jesus the boy with loaves and fishes in the crowd, therefore actively participating in what would become one of the biggest miracles of Jesus’ ministry.
If given the opportunity, do we participate in the miracles of Christ today? Are we open to something like that?
In this season of Advent, it’s a fair question to ponder. How open are we to allow God to work through our hands and feet, eyes and ears to affect miraculous solutions to many problems?
After Jesus was crucified and ascended into heaven, Andrew went on to spread the Gospel in Greece, among other lands. Sounds like a good gig, sharing what was truly “good news” about the Christ.
But then … there was the inevitable. Andrew was crucified while evangelizing. Nailed upon an x-shaped cross. Would you be ready for that?
Today, Andrew the apostle is venerated in Greece, Russia, Scotland and other lands. He is the patron saint of the fishing industry.
He is no longer with us. But his message is still resonating in our faith.
As Paul writes in today’s first reading …
“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; for
“Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
You are still on the banks of that river, dipping your toes in the water.
This Advent season, take a plunge. Dive deep into your spirituality and listen to those words that ring out from age to age. Don’t waste these next four weeks.
Let us all embrace Advent and light the fire of hope in our hearts that we can follow the example of Andrew and follow Jesus no matter where He may lead us.