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The Everyday Prayer


 
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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of the Apostle Andrew


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 4, 18-22

As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast into the lake with their net, for they were fishermen.

And he said to them, 'Come after me and I will make you fishers of people.'

And at once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.

And at once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today the Church remembers the apostle Andrew. The Gospels of Mark and Matthew tell that he is one of the first four to be called. This memory reminds us that the Christian is first and foremost a disciple, that is, a man or woman who listens to the Lord and follows him. The liturgical year that we just began is nothing other than a year of following the Lord, a year of listening to the Gospel in order to grow in love for the Lord and our brothers and sisters. This is why the story of the first calling - according to John’s narration - continues to be exemplary. Andrew, the son of Jonah and brother of Simon Peter, was from Bethsaida and worked as a fisherman alongside his brother. He was called by Jesus while he was mending his nets, and he left them immediately and began to follow the Teacher. According to tradition, Andrew announced the Gospel in Syria, in Asia Minor, and in Greece. He died in Patras, crucified like his Teacher. Orthodoxy venerates him as the first bishop of the Church of Constantinople. Mark’s Gospel counts him among the first four to be called. All four, in effect, began to follow Jesus immediately after they met him. The Church, every Christian community, and every religious encounter always begins with an encounter. But is not a matter of hasty greetings or entertaining small talk. How often do we fill our time with chattering or waste streams of words! Here we have a clear and simple invitation from Jesus: "Follow me, and I will make you fish for people." Andrew and Simon, called Peter, listen to this invitation, leave their nets, and follow him. Why follow him? It is difficult to explain God’s future to those, like us, who are illiterate when it comes to his word and his love. The Teacher explains God’s future in the only way that those fishermen can understand, perhaps in the only way that can excite them, "you will still be fishermen, but for people." For this type of fishing we have to leave our old boats and begin travelling, not on the water anymore, but on the land of men and women that is perhaps even more fluid and uncertain than the waters of that lake. It is no longer the watery sea, but the sea of men and women, the crowd of people that will absorb them and overwhelm them. Together with the other three, Andrew accepts Jesus’ invitation. You are not the one who chooses; there is another who looks at you, loves you, and calls you. In truth, Jesus is the first "fisher for people," and he calls these poor fishermen. It is not for us to decide whether we are worthy or not, or if anyone else is. These kinds of judgments are tied to worldly logic. From the Gospel’s perspective, all we have to do is listen to the invitation, accept it, and respond, just as these four did. Following Jesus is not a choice for heroes or a few chosen spirits. The first four were simple fishermen; they listened to Jesus, trusted him, and followed him. This is the entire secret of faith and of the Church itself.


11/30/2010
Memory of the Apostles


Calendar of the week
NOV
27
Sunday, 27 November
Liturgy of the Sunday
NOV
28
Monday, 28 November
Memory of the Poor
NOV
29
Tuesday, 29 November
Memory of the Mother of the Lord
NOV
30
Wednesday, 30 November
Memory of the Apostles
DEC
1
Thursday, 1 December
Memory of the Church
DEC
2
Friday, 2 December
Memory of Jesus crucified
DEC
3
Saturday, 3 December
Sunday Vigil
DEC
4
Sunday, 4 December
Liturgy of the Sunday

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