Posted by: fvbcdm | December 2, 2011

Feast of Saint Andrew (30 Nov 2011)

Today is November 30th, the last day of the month, the fourth day of the Holy Season of Advent, and the feast of the apostle Saint Andrew, the brother of Saint Peter. The two of them were fishermen, who lived in Capharnaum on the northern shore of the lake of Galilee. As the gospel passage for today opens, we find these two men and quite a few more down at the River Jordan near Jericho in Judea. They were listening to the preaching of Saint John the Baptist before returning to their own country of Galilee. While he was speaking, he caught sight of Our Lord walking by, and he interrupted his preaching to say to his hearers about Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God.”  Eager to meet this man of whom the Baptist spoke so highly, two of the Galileans began to follow Our Lord. It would seem that they didn’t know what to say or how to initiate conversation with him, so Our Lord took the lead, turned to them and said, “What are you looking for?” It was not an easy question to answer. What WERE they looking for? They probably found it difficult to put it into words.  So one of them blurted out, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” The Lord’s answer was warm, welcoming, and the beginning of a whole new world for them and for millions of others.  He said, “Come and see.”

The two following Jesus were Andrew and John, another fisherman from Galilee. Accepting his invitation, they went with him and stayed with him that afternoon and evening, probably spending the night on the riverbank as they spoke with this fascinating man, “the Lamb of God.” The next morning, completely captivated by the personality of Jesus, Andrew went back to where his brother Peter had spent the night on the riverbank, and said to Peter with tremendous delight “we have found the Messiah!” And he brought Peter to Jesus. These two brothers both became the apostles of the Lord, one of them (Peter) the chief of the apostles and the first Pope of the Church to be founded by Our Lord.

This is a wonderful story: the beautiful account of the laying of the foundations of Christianity. And today we celebrate that fisherman Andrew, who became apostle, bishop, missionary, martyr, saint, and foundation stone for the salvation of the world since he served as one of the conduits for the redemption achieved by Christ for all of mankind.

Let me point out to you today that the British flag is commonly called “the Union Jack.” It is so called because at the time of the union of England and Scotland in 1707 into what is now called “the United Kingdom,” a new flag was adopted. It contains the simple Latin cross and then the X-shaped cross of Saint Andrew, who has been for centuries held as the patron saint of Scotland and is supposed to have been crucified on an X-shaped cross. The next time you see a British flag or the picture of one, you might think of Saint Andrew and pray for the reunion of the Anglican church of England and the Presbyterian church of Scotland, with the Catholic Church from which they separated themselves in the 1500s.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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