We remember St. Andrew the Apostle today, as the Apostle who brought St. Peter to Jesus, who pointed out the boy with the fish and loaves, who brought others to Jesus and who came and spent the day with Jesus at His invitation, “Come & See”. Andrew was also the Apostle whom Philip spoke to first before Jesus when he wanted to bring Greeks to see Jesus.
Although St. Andrew seems to be present at all the key moments of Jesus’ ministry with the other Apostles, he never seems to be the central figure next to Jesus. Being perhaps the first among the others in chronology, he is most definitely not the first among others in any other remarkable way; the Gospels account his presence but little more.
The Gospels of Matthew and Mark speak of the brothers Andrew and Peter together but Luke’s Gospel makes no mention of him by name. We celebrate his feast today in recognition of his great and saintly witness. It should be our heart’s desire to be Apostles/disciples like St. Andrew. At first consideration, it might seem like Andrew is the poor unsung hero, not getting the credit where credit is due – but discipleship and priesthood are not about, and never should be about the credit we receive for anything.
If we really reflect upon Andrew’s life and witness – he is a great role model and example for us. He brought his skeptical brother forward and Peter’s life was changed forever – and Jesus found in Peter the one to lead the Church He founded. He did everything he ought to have done as an Apostle and follower of Christ including giving his life’s blood for the Lord.
Perhaps you’ve never remarked in this way about St. Andrew. I have heard more than a few reflection’s on his life themed this way, calling on us to ‘hang in there’ and be good disciples whether we get any recognition for it or not. For each of us I don’t think that’s good enough. I don’t think we can afford not to appreciate the valuable witness St. Andrew offers us and seek to be more like him. Everything we get to do for the Lord is of the essence, is of the greatest importance and matters more than anyone in this world might ever know. Even if the Gospels don’t account his great importance, we know what he did, he did for the Lord and what He did is the essence of what holiness is about – getting himself to heaven and bringing as many people with him as he could.
And that ought to be the most important thing for each one of us. It is a human quality to like to be credited and rewarded for what we do, or who we are. Even as we discern, perhaps not in an overt way, many wonder whether we are going to be noticed or recognized for our gifts and talents. Even if we didn’t start out that way, there can be a tendency for us in our own human weakness to be convinced or become convinced that we’ve deserved more than we get. To feel underappreciated as men of the church. I can assure you that this is one of the most deadly attitudes for a priest to have in any way. Of course, if this is something that we struggle with we pray for an increase in humility – but it’s something that we must “train” ourselves for in seminary. We must never hold back from doing great work for the Lord but try hard never to accept the praise given, so as not to expect it. We are not in this to be recognized by the people, other priests, bishops or people in high places. We are recognized already by the Lord, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.On this feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle; may each of us pause and reflect upon our Christian witness today giving thanks for our faith & friendship with the Lord, and in that spirit of gratitude, give thanks for being called to greatness in our vocation. And in that greatness call forth others to love and serve the Lord.