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Apostle, Fisher, Follower
Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
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. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
Opening Prayer: Lord God, I am only able to pray because you have given me the gift of faith. You have bid me, called me to prayer. Here I am, Lord, and I want to follow your lead. You are the Lord of my life. You are the only one worth following. Thank you for calling me to be your disciple.
- Fisher of Men: This short Gospel passage has all the excitement of the beginning of an adventure story. Andrew, the unsuspecting fisherman plying his trade, was suddenly called to the extraordinary life of an Apostle: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Would Andrew have understood what this curious invitation implied? Possibly. Andrew had seen Jesus when John the Baptist had proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and he “heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:36-37). Jesus had prepared him ahead of time to receive his vocation as a “fisher of men.” Jesus always gives us what we need to fulfill our vocational calling.
- The Great Saint: St. Andrew has a special place in salvation history. He was the Apostle who brought St. Peter to Christ (John 1:41). He and Philip also brought the Greeks to Christ (John 12:22-32). Before the multiplication of loaves and fishes, Andrew was not afraid to state the obvious: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?” ( John 6:8-13). Perhaps, though, today’s Gospel is most revealing of Andrew’s character because we see–at the very beginning–Andrew’s loving spontaneity and his radical trust in Jesus. This fisherman, whose whole livelihood depended on fishing boats and equipment, “left [his] nets and followed him.”
- My Vocation: As we begin this Advent season, the Church’s “New Year,” it can be a good time to reflect on our original calling. Perhaps we were like Andrew; happy fishing and doing our own thing until someone gave witness to God, compelling us to leave our safety nets and follow Jesus as dedicated apostles. Or perhaps we were like Zebedee; staying “behind” to fish and earn an income to support the family and the missionaries. Or are we like Peter who had heard about Jesus but hesitated, needing a miracle and a direct invitation to accept the call and follow Jesus? However our vocation began, we can be grateful for the call as we vigilantly keep our eyes fixed on Jesus this Advent.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, grant me the courage to follow you as St. Andrew did. Thank you for our friendship, our story, your calling me to follow you. Please continue to help me persevere in all you ask of me. St. Andrew, pray for us!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reach out to a friend and do something small to be another Christ to him or her.
For Further Reflection: Prayer for Discernment:
Walk with me, good and loving God, as I journey through life.
May I take your hand and be led by your Holy Spirit.
Fill me, inspire me, free me to respond generously to your call.
For I believe you desire my deepest joy,
And it is only in your company that my soul will be satisfied
And my life will find its meaning and purpose. Amen.
Written by Deacon Erik Burckel, LC.