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Getting To Know St. Andrew

Tim Lilley

This issue of The Message is published on Nov. 30 – the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. How much do you know about him? Columnist Zoe Cannon included him in her Nov. 23 column; here is more about him and his life.

He was a fisherman – Simon Peter’s younger brother. Together, they became the first apostles; they dropped their nets to answer Jesus’ call to become “fishers of men.”

History tells us that after our Savior’s death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven, Andrew and Simon Peter made their way to Greece and Rome, respectively. It is not too much, in my opinion, to consider them the “brothers of discipleship.” Peter, of course, became the first Pope. Andrew preached the Good News to what has become the Eastern Church.

In a piece about St. Andrew for the National Catholic Register, prolific Catholic author Jimmy Akin recounts what Pope Francis said to the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, when he visited the Holy Father shortly after his election to the pontificate: “Before all else, I express my heartfelt thanks for what my brother Andrew (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I) has said to us. Many thanks! Many thanks!”

Recently canonized St. Paul VI also recognized St. Andrew’s status. In 1964, Akin reported, St. Paul VI returned relics of St. Andrew that had been at the Vatican Basilica to the Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of the city of Patras, Greece, where tradition has it that St. Andrew was crucified. 

St. Andrew is one of the apostles who asked Jesus to describe the destruction of the temple, which He does in the Gospel reading for Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent. In his piece on St. Andrew, Akin includes the following comments about the apostles’ question and Jesus’ answer:

“In answer to this question Jesus gave an important discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and on the end of the world, in which he asked his disciples to be wise in interpreting the signs of the times and to be constantly on their guard.

‘From this event we can deduce that we should not be afraid to ask Jesus questions but at the same time that we must be ready to accept even the surprising and difficult teachings that he offers us.”

Thank you, St. Andrew, for helping us to remember this lesson from Christ. It is one we all must embrace – not only to find some measure of peace and happiness in our daily lives, but also to assure that we are working toward eternal peace and happiness in Heaven.

Nothing should be about us. Everything should be about what God calls us to do, even when that call goes against everything we desire and/or would have. Remember what the only begotten Son of God prayed just hours before He died for our sins: ““Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Beginning Sunday, we enter Advent. Let’s all remember St. Andrew during this time of preparation. Let’s pray for his intercession, that God might reveal what He is calling us to do now – at this time – and that the Holy Spirit will strengthen us; prepare us to “accept even the surprising and difficult teachings that he offers us.”

St. Andrew, pray for us.