Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle: November 30th

Isn't it interesting that St. Andrew's Feast Day is at the beginning of Advent? Perhaps we need to think not only of what we should do to prepare for the Coming of Our Lord, but to see what we need to "let go" in order to follow Christ? Sts. Andrew, Peter, James & John immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus. And it was life changing! As we prepare ourselves for the Birth of Christ, we need to leave behind sin, fear, and spiritual laziness. We need to become new, innocent, child-like in our wonder of God's mercy, love and gifts. Rest assure..God's loving response will be life changing!

St. Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus. He was the younger brother of Saint Peter and was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. The brothers were fishermen by trade. Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he would make them “fishers of men.”

The Gospel of John teaches us much about St. Andrew who was originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist. When John pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” Andrew understood that Jesus was greater and immediately left John to follow Jesus. He visited in Jesus’ home and later brought his brother Simon Peter, who Jesus also called to be an apostle.
It is believed that Saint Andrew and Saint Peter continued their trade as fishermen until Christ called them to a closer relationship, and they left all things to follow Jesus.
After Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, St. Andrew the Apostle preached the gospel in Asia Minor and in Scythia as far as Kiev.  Not much is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of Saint Andrew.
Saint Andrew was martyred by crucifixion at Patras in Achaea in Greece. Because St. Andrew deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ had been crucified, he asked to be tied to a Crux decussata or an X shaped cross. The Apostle Andrew did not die right away but instead he was left to suffer for two days while he continued to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ until he finally died.
Although little is mentioned in the Book of Acts regarding the life of St. Andrew, much can be learned through St. Andrew's life. He and Saint Peter gave up their lifelong careers and lifestyles, leaving everything behind, to follow Jesus. Their undying faith in a difficult world is an inspiration to all Christians.
His relics consist of a small finger, the top of his cranium and pieces of the cross. These are kept in a shrine at the Church of St. Andrew in Patras.
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, Russia and Greece. Scots celebrate Saint Andrew's Day around the world on the 30th of November. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew.
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