Feast of St. Andrew, apostle
(Romans 10:9-18; Matthew 4:18-22)
According to the Gospel of John, Andrew was Jesus’ first disciple. Today’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew does not give a hint of that. Witness the world’s fascination with being “number one.” College football, for one example, has a system of double-postseason games to definitively say who the best team is. The gospel has concerns that are completely otherwise.
Preaching the word of God, as Paul indicates in the reading from Romans, is a chief hallmark of the gospel. People are to do so not out of an ideology to convince others to see things as they do. Rather they should preach to give hearers the joy of knowing Jesus. Even at the cost of their own lives, they are to proclaim how God’s love has radically come to the world in Jesus.
Although there is no historical record of his execution, it is presumed that Andrew died a martyr. He followed Jesus who told his disciples that they had to take up their crosses after him. Plenty of Christians suffer martyrdom today, but after all we are likely to die in bed. Let us do so, however, after giving testimony to Jesus by lives of patient understanding and consistent care.