Today is the feast of St. Andrew, the one named the Prōtoklētos – or “first called.” Andrew is so designated because as it tells us in the Gospel of John (John 1:35–42) Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah and hastened to introduce him to his brother, Simon Peter.
Jesus called; Andrew answered: Apostle, missionary, martyr.
St. Andrew was present at every important event during the earthly ministry of Jesus and after Jesus’ Resurrection was commission to go to the ends of the earth proclaiming the Gospel. Tradition holds that he preached along the shore of the Black Sea, the steppe of western Central Asia and up-river as far as Kiev – and as such he is the patron saint of Ukraine, Romania and Russia. Andrew also preached in Thrace (an ancient area now part of modern Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey).
In light of that, let us hear again the prophet Isaiah chapter 28 from the first reading (Roman 10:11-13):
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
How about us? Jesus calls, but are we answering? Andrew traveled far and wide so that people could hear, believe and so be saved.
Each of us, like Andrew, had been commissioned to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Some, like Andrew will be preachers and missionaries. Most of us are commissioned for our families, our homes, our circle of friends, the block we live on, the faith community we attend – all pretty local stuff.
Have you heard? Do you believe?
Pay it forward.
It’s your job.