Friday, 30 November 2018 : Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles of Our Lord, who was called together with his brother, St. Peter, at the shores of the lake of Galilee from his profession as a fisherman. The four Apostles called that day was St. Peter and St. Andrew, brothers, and the sons of Zebedee, also brothers, St. James the Greater and St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.

St. Andrew was the first to be called among the Apostles, and that was why he is also usually known as St. Andrew the First-Called, and was also probably one of the disciples of St. John the Baptist. In the Gospel, St. John the Baptist baptised Jesus at the Jordan at the beginning of His worldly ministry, and he pointed out to his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world!”, pointing out the True Messiah of God to them.

And thus St. Andrew came to the Lord and listened to His call, as He called him, his brother and his fellow fishermen, the sons of Zebedee, to follow the path that God has called them into, to be the disciples of Christ, to be His Apostles and the ones through whom, God would come to exercise many of His wondrous works and blessings in this world. They were no longer mere fishermen, but according to the Lord Himself, they became fishers of men.

The Apostles, twelve among them were the closest collaborators and disciples of the Lord, and St. Andrew was one of them. They followed the Lord wherever He went, and listened to His words and teachings. He followed the Lord to His Passion, suffering and death in Jerusalem, and witnessed His glorious resurrection from the dead and ascension into heavenly glory.

And St. Andrew received the commandment from God together with his fellow Apostles and disciples, to go forth to all the nations, and to baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he and the other disciples of the Lord began the evangelising and missionary efforts of the Church. He went to many places in faraway lands, in what is now today Ukraine, Russia and Greece.

He preached the Word of God and the truth of the salvation in Our Lord Jesus Christ to the people living in those places, calling them to believe in God and to turn away from their past ways of sin. He founded several dioceses and communities of the faithful in the places he went to, and eventually he was martyred in Achaea in Greece, crucified on the X-shaped cross, which would later be known as St. Andrew’s cross.

Now, we have just heard how this simple fisherman of Galilee became a great worker and missionary of God, truly fulfilling what the Lord had Himself said, that he and the other disciples would become fishers of men, and they really did. We have witnessed and heard, and probably read and knew the many good works that St. Andrew and the other Apostles had done, in their courageous and tireless deeds and works to serve God and His people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, surely we realise that God has called everyone to follow Him and to be His disciples. He called those whom He wanted to make worthy and not those who think that they are worthy. That is why He called simple fishermen, prostitutes and tax collectors, sinners and thieves just as He also called on the intellectuals and the righteous. What matters is for us to change our way of life so completely, that we orientate ourselves towards God.

Let us all realise that we are the successors of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, in that we have to continue the same mission which God has entrusted to the Apostles and the disciples, in bringing the truth and the salvation of God to more people, of all the nations. We are called to live our lives more faithfully and be living witnesses of the Gospel through our daily living, following in the footsteps of the Apostles themselves.

If the Apostles such as St. Andrew has given his all to dedicate all his efforts to the Lord, then why are we not doing the same? The common answer to this is because of our own pride, our own emotions, temptations in life and all the allures and pressures to abandon the righteous way of the Lord, which have prevented us from giving our all to God. We have also then become more and more distant from God and easier to fall into the traps Satan prepared for us.

Let us all be inspired therefore by the courage and the faith of St. Andrew the Apostle and the many other holy men and women of God, that from now on, for each and every one of us, our lives will be ever more attuned to the Lord and that we will be ever closer to Him. May the Lord continue to watch over us and love us, every days of our life, from now on. May He empower each and every one of us to live faithfully in accordance to His will. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 30 November 2018 : Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 4 : 18-22

At that time, as Jesus walked by the lake of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come, follow Me; and I will make you fish for people.”

At once they left their nets and followed Him. He went on from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, in a boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. Jesus called them.

At once, they left the boat, and their father, and followed Him.

Friday, 30 November 2018 : Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Friday, 30 November 2018 : Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Romans 10 : 9-18

You are saved, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and, in your heart, you believe that God raised Him from the dead. By believing from the heart, you obtain true righteousness; by confessing the faith with your lips, you are saved.

For Scripture says : No one who believes in Him will be ashamed. Here, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; all have the same Lord, Who is very generous with whoever calls on Him. Truly, all who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.

But how can they call upon the Name of the Lord without having believed in Him? And how can they believe in Him, without having first heard about Him? And how will they hear about Him, if no one preaches about Him? And how will they preach about Him, if no one sends them?

As Scripture says : How beautiful are the feet of the messenger of Good News. Although, not everyone obeyed the Good News, as Isaiah said : Lord, who has believed in our preaching? So, faith comes from preaching, and preaching is rooted in the word of Christ.

I ask : Have the Jews not heard? But, of course, they have. Because the voice of those preaching resounded all over the earth, and their voice was heard, to the ends of the world.