Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Feast of St. Andrew, apostle

(Romans 10:9-18; Matthew 4:18-22)

Although we know very little about St. Andrew, most Catholics remember the date of his feast before that of any other apostle. November 30 is etched in our minds because of its association with Advent. The feast does not mark the beginning of the season, but the Sunday nearest it is always the first day of Advent.

As Advent marks a new liturgical year, the Feast of St. Andrew reminds us of the dynamism of preaching. Today’s gospel shows Jesus calling the fishermen Andrew and his brother Peter to follow him. The call is so strong that the brothers do not hesitate a moment but leave their fishing nets and even their father in the boat. In the first reading St. Paul articulates the process of preaching. The word of God is not just read or recited but interpreted for the people in their own context. In this way all will come to know God as their common Father, Christ as their Savior, and each other as brothers and sisters.

This vision of a universal family coheres with the prophecies of Isaiah during the first weeks of Advent. We have to live it among ourselves, work for it among associates, and pray for it among the nations of the world.