Nov. 30 – Monday of the 1st Week of Advent
Psalm 19:8-11 – The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
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.” Mt. 4
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, apostle. Fittingly, our gospel is the calling of Andrew, Simon, James, and John. Jesus sees them all out about their work as fishermen. He calls them to follow him, promising to make them “fishers of men”. Immediately, they do so. Matthew does not tend to throw about the word “immediately” with the wild abandonment of Mark, so this word has great impact here. These men changed their lives radically in the moment of their unhesitating decision to follow Christ.
So, too, our lives change the moment we become His.
What comes to mind immediately is the wonderful scene in episode 4 of The Chosen where the calling of these two sets of brothers is portrayed. When Jesus asks them to follow him, they respond with incredulous joy. James and John are shown racing through the surf to reach Jesus in their eagerness to answer the call. Peter responds with humbled gratitude, while Andrew shows quiet resolve – he had already heard and believed.
We know this initial joy of the calling will be tested – James and John will later request that Jesus make them first and second in command when he comes into “his glory” (Mark 10:35-45). Jesus questions whether they really understand what they are asking – do they understand his is not an earthy kingdom of earthly power? And of course, Peter is the Messer-Upper Supreme of the disciples. His frequent stumbles required frequent recommitment to the call of the Master.
We hear very little about Andrew after his introduction – he was a follower of John the Baptist until John directed him to Jesus. But if we go by the examples of James, John, and Peter – and of our own lives – doubtless Andrew experienced many moments of both joy in the service of Christ and stumbles, requiring soul-searching, repentance, and re-dedication.
May we remember the joy of hearing Jesus’s call in our lives. Let us ask St. Andrew for his intercession to continue to say yes to Christ.
Fun Fact – St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. Scotland’s flag features the Saltire, or X-shaped cross. St. Andrew was martyred in Patras, Greece on such a cross. St. Andrew literally had nothing to do with Scotland, but there are lots of stories about how St. Andrew came to be adopted by Scotland. For example, St. Andrew appeared in a dream to King Angus of Scotland (9th century) shortly before the Scots were to battle the English and foretold the Scots win. The day of battle, the shape of the Saltire Cross was seen in the sky – proof of St. Andrew’s patronage. King Angus vowed that if the Scots were victorious, St. Andrew would become Scotland’s saint. And so it was.
Today, St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland is a celebration of being Scottish. How can you celebrate?
- Make shortbread, a traditional Scottish cookie requiring very few ingredients
- Listen to some bagpipe music
- perform small acts of kindness through the day – this is a very sweet, more modern St. Andrew’s Day tradition – as St. Andrew was known for being gentle, just, and fair, modern Scots encourage acts of kindness to honor the saint and to build community. #OneKindAct