Reflection for Tuesday, November 30, 2010: St. Andrew, Apostle (1st week in Advent).

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Butterfield, George
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Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew the apostle. He was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the brother of Peter. I once heard him described as the apostle who always stepped back. In the Gospel of John, Andrew was one of the first of Jesus' disciples. Yet, he brought his brother Peter to Jesus and then stepped back. There is a story about some Greeks who wanted to see Jesus. Andrew led them to Jesus and then stepped back. Peter certainly was not that type. Peter lost a foot race with John to the empty tomb but then did not hesitate to go right in even as John waited at the entrance. The Church today is a lot like these disciples. Some are bold. Others are more reserved. Yet, Jesus chose Peter and Andrew and we need the variety of people we have in the Church today. In fact, although we definitely need bold leaders like Peter, how could the Church survive without the Andrews who lead people to Jesus and then step back? For all of those wonderful men and women of God who do selfless deeds of mercy and so demonstrate the same Spirit that filled Saint Andrew and caused him to step back, may the Lord's richest blessings be yours today.|Today's first reading stresses the importance of individuals taking the Good News to others. God does not discriminate between Jews and Greeks but wants all to know Jesus as Lord. Yet, how can people call upon the name of the Lord and be saved unless someone shares their faith with them? How can they confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead unless someone is sent to them with the words of eternal life? Saint Paul probably was not thinking of Saint Andrew when he wrote these words but he certainly could have. Saint Paul had confidence in Jesus Christ. If people only heard about Jesus and were introduced to him, they would experience eternal life. He was a lot like Saint Andrew in his view of the Good News. If people could only meet Jesus, then we can step back and go on to share the message of salvation with others.|This confidence of Saints Andrew and Paul is based on a confidence in the Word of God. They could have easily borrowed the words of the psalmist who refers to the Lord and his teachings as perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, just, precious, sweet, that which gives wisdom to the simple, makes the heart rejoice, enlightens the eyes, and endures forever. If I really believed all of that about Jesus, why would I not want others to share it and why would I not have enough confidence in Jesus that, after I led others to him, I could step back and just let the Lord do his work?|Perhaps the Gospel lesson explains why so many of us do not lead others to Jesus. Jesus called Peter and Andrew to be his followers and Matthew says that "at once" they left everything and followed him. Jesus called James and John and "immediately" they left their job and their family to follow him. In Jesus these two sets of brothers found everything they wanted in this life and the life to come. With this confidence, they shared their faith even unto death - some boldly, some stepping back. May God grant us all, in our own way, the faith to follow Jesus.|Saint Andrew, pray for us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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