Today is the feast of St. Andrew, the apostle. In recent years I have come to understand that the apostles are not stoic figures in a stained glass window but they were real flesh and blood men, still alive but gone from us and living with the Trinity in Heaven!
Andrew was originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist and he was the one who introduced his brother, Peter, to Jesus. We read in St. Matthew’s Gospel today (Mt 4:18-22) that Andrew, a fisherman, was casting a net into the sea when Jesus came by and called Andrew to follow Him. At once he and Peter, left their nets and followed Him. That response led him into a close and deep relationship with Jesus and eventually to his own cross.
In recent Angelus talks in Rome our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI talked with great affection about the Apostles. Here is an excerpt from his talk on St. Andrew:
“From the fourth Gospel we know another important detail: At first, Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist; and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared Israel's hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord. He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard that John the Baptist was proclaiming Jesus as "the Lamb of God" (John 1:36); so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple , followed Jesus, the one John had called "Lamb of God." The evangelist says: 'They saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him' (John 1:40-43), demonstrating immediately an uncommon apostolic spirit. Andrew, therefore, was the first apostle who received the call and followed Jesus. For this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honors him with the nickname "Protoklitos," which means the "first called."
Like Andrew, are you searching? Do encounters with Jesus stir your heart as well? Is Jesus calling you today to drop your net and follow Him? Andrew has the ear of Jesus so pray to him today for the grace to respond to that call!