Though Andrew is named among the apostles in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, it is in John’s gospel that most is learned about him. Andrew was a Galilean fisherman, mending his nets, when Jesus called him to follow him, which he promptly did. He then seems to have remained with Jesus until the end. He was there at the feeding of the five thousand and then later, when some Greeks in Jerusalem wanted to see Jesus, Philip brought them to Andrew who told Jesus of their desire. Tradition has him travelling on several missionary journeys and eventually being martyred by being crucified on an X-shaped cross. He became the patron saint of Scotland because of a legend that his relics had been brought there in the eighth century.
O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
who gave such grace to your apostle Saint Andrew
that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ
and brought his brother with him:
call us by your holy word,
and give us grace to follow you without delay
and to tell the good news of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The heavens are telling the glory of God
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
One day pours out its song to another
and one night unfolds knowledge to another.
They have neither speech nor language
and their voices are not heard,
Yet their sound has gone out into all lands
and their words to the ends of the world.
In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun,
that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber
and rejoices as a champion to run his course.
It goes forth from the end of the heavens
and runs to the very end again,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
As we reflect upon Jesus calling Andrew into a life of discipleship, we are invited to pause and consider how we might respond should we find ourselves in Andrew’s position. Andrew, and his brother Simon Peter, were fishermen. They would have played an important part in maintaining the family business. There would have been an expectation that, in their time, they would have kept the business in such good order that it would be ready for the next generation to take it on. But then Jesus came into their lives.
It was probably a perfectly normal working day when Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee … saw the two brothers … casting a net into the lake … and said: Follow me, for I will make you fish for people. That day had probably been exactly the same as any other day, except that this was the day when they were called away from their fishing boat and into a life of discipleship.
What would we have said, I wonder? Would we have responded with a similar degree of immediacy, or would we have hesitated? Would we have listened to Jesus’ call, or would we have sent him away with rough words?
Our response to Jesus’ call in our lives should, of course, be a matter of concern and consideration for every one of us. Jesus is constantly calling us into discipleship, only to find us prioritising those mundane matters which dominate our daily lives. Jesus is constantly calling us, and our response is to flick through our diaries and see when we can fit him in for an exploratory meeting … just to check the small print and the feasibility of what he is offering!
Jesus is calling all of us into a life of discipleship, but that need not involve the abandonment of livelihood, family, friends and all the other things we value in our lives. To follow Jesus’ call will involve change, but that will, more often than not, be change in attitude. Jesus’ call will mean our being less angry and aggressive, less impatient and irritable, less selfish and considerably more generous. Jesus’ call will involve putting others before ourselves, loving instead of hating, embracing rather than shunning. The change others will see, should we accept the challenge of following Jesus’ call, will be significant and tangible … and it will encourage others to accept that call as well.
The question for us today is centred around our willingness to lead in matters of faith, rather than seek the approval of those amongst whom we live. Jesus calls us into a life of faithful discipleship. We have to decide how important that is to us. As we hear that call we have to be ready to take that leap of faith, and not wait to see if others are joining us. We have to be ready to turn our backs on all that is not God-centred and follow wherever we might be led. Let us pray for the strength to follow Andrew … right now!!
Prayers of intercession
That we may ever be drawn closer into his divine love, let us pray to the Lord.
Bless the Church in her duty of bringing people to Christ. We pray for all missionaries, in this land or throughout the world, who are spreading the Gospel of salvation.
Protect sailors and fishers as they follow their calling upon the sea. Lead safely to their goal all people in the world who are seeking to find and follow the truth.
Inspire us with the spirit of mission and the grace to share our faith with those among whom we live. Bless those who in many ways bring food to our community.
Be with those who must travel and wander through the world, especially those who have no settled homes. Comfort the weary and bring new hope to the sorrowful.
We give thanks for all who have heard and answered the call to faith and now are at rest. Grant them light and peace with blessed Andrew and all the saints.
We offer our prayers through Jesus Christ who calls his chosen to follow him.
Prayer for the week
God of all hope and joy,
open our hearts in welcome,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming,
may find in us a dwelling prepared for him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore. Amen.
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