REFLECTION FOR TODAY
November 30, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matt. 4:18-20
Today we celebrate the feast of St Andrew the Apostle. What a wonderful way to begin the season of Advent as we reflect on the call, response, and person of St. Andrew. Our gospel reference today presents us with an account of the call of Andrew. Jesus called Andrew and his brother Peter, right from their fishing boats and they “immediately” left their nets and followed Him.
According to the gospel of John, St. Andrew and John were originally the disciples of John the Baptist, and they had been encouraged to follow Jesus by John the Baptist, who pointed out Jesus as “the Lamb of God” After spending a night with Jesus, Andrew, brought his brother Peter to Jesus.
Andrew appears in the scene of the multiplication of the bread where Jesus miraculously fed a multitude. While Philip gave a bad report of the situation, Andrew went among the multitude and found a boy who offered to give his small food packet of five bread and fish to Jesus to feed the multitude.
Andrew who saw Jesus miraculously supplying wine at Cana knew that Jesus could work another miracle with five barley loaves and two dried fish. We find Andrew a third time in the Gospel, bringing a few Greek pilgrims to Jesus. They had first approached Philip for help and Philip had sought the help of Andrew to bring them to Jesus.
According to Church tradition, Andrew preached the Gospel in Greece and Turkey and was crucified at Patras on an X-shaped cross to which he was tied. According to another tradition, he also preached in Scotland and Russia. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Russia, of Scotland, and of fishermen.
The story of the call, response, and person of St. Andrew is quite appropriate for the beginning of Advent, because Advent must be a time when we hear Jesus call us anew. It must be a new beginning and a new conversion for us. As Advent begins, we should hear Jesus’ call to us, “Come after Me!” We should hear Him invite us with an invitation to give ourselves completely to His divine plan and purpose. Listen to Him. Do you hear Him calling?
Our response, at the beginning of Advent, must be the same as St. Andrew. We must, without hesitation, leave everything to follow Him. What exactly does that mean? It means that we must let go of anything and everything that keeps us from responding to Christ. It means we must be ready and willing to do whatever Jesus asks of us. And we must be ready to do it the moment He asks.
Reflect, today, upon the fact that Advent is a time to start anew. It is a time to let ourselves be called to Jesus. Listen to Him calling you and respond to Him with your whole heart. To be effective instruments in the hands of God and to continue Jesus’ preaching, healing, and saving ministry, we, too, need to repent of our sins daily and to renew our lives by relying on the power of God. The zeal of St. Andrew should be a real inspiration to us. We can almost picture Andrew, full of excitement, telling everyone he met about our Lord. Through Andrew’s evangelization, St. Peter, our first pope, was brought to Jesus
Lord, I love You above all things. Help me to hear Your gentle yet firm voice calling me to follow You. Give me the courage I need to respond to Your gentle invitation with complete abandonment. May this Advent be a time of new beginnings and deeper resolve to follow You. Jesus, I trust in You.