Thursday, November 30, 2017

Nov 30 - St. Andrew - Apostle

+ It is the feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle. There must have been something in his voice, there must have been something in the way he said things, there must have been something in his look and manner that would make these four long-time dedicated fishers of fish leave everything immediately and follow someone who has just offered to make them “fishers of men.” What could this possibly mean? But, they didn’t have to stop to figure it all out: their intuition, their instinct, their gut told them to go and find out what this new adventure was all about.

Andrew was actually the first Apostle called by Jesus as seen in another account; he was the brother of Simon Peter and led him to Jesus. He was a follower of John the Baptist; and like John, he spent his life leading people to Jesus, both before and after the Crucifixion. He was a missionary in Asia Minor and Greece and possibly areas in modern Russia and Poland. He was martyred on a saltire (x-shaped) cross and is said to have preached from it for two days before he died.

There are several legendary explanations for why St. Andrew became patron of Scotland. The first being that in 345, the Emperor Constantine the Great decided to move Andrew’s bones from Patras, Greece to Constantinople. Then St. Regulus of Scotland was instructed by an angel to take these relics to the far northwest. He was eventually told to stop on the Fife coast of Scotland, where he founded the settlement of St. Andrew. And, when the Pictish King, Angus, faced a large invading army, he prayed for guidance. A white cloud in the form of a saltire cross floated across the blue sky above him. Angus won a decisive victory, and decreed that Andrew would be the patron saint of his country. The Saltire became the national flag of Scotland in 1385.

The first reading today from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans beautifully describes the mission of the apostle and evangelist. The world must hear the Good News in order to believe in it; and someone must be sent to bring that Good News to the waiting world: this would be the Apostles and their successors and helpers. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. May we rejoice that their voice has gone forth to all the earth and their words to the ends of the world; and may we do our part today to spread that word, that message, that hope to at least one person, if not many!

Come after me, says the Lord, and I will make you fishers of men.
St. Andrew, pray for us!
When St. Andrew first caught sight of the gibbet on which he was to die, he greeted the precious wood with joy.  "O good cross!" he cried, "made beautiful by the limbs of Christ, so long desired, now so happily found!  Receive me into thy arms and present me to my Master, that He Who redeemed me through thee may now accept me from thee."  Two whole days the martyr remained hanging on this cross alive, preaching, with outstretched arms from this chair of truth, to all who came near, and entreating them not to hinder his passion.

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