“I command you for the last time…. make your sacrifice to our gods” yelled Aegeas, the pagan judge.
“Certainly no!” was the reply back, “I sacrifice daily to The Almighty God, the one and true God.
Not the flesh of oxen and the blood of goats do I offer, but the unspotted Lamb upon the altar.
All the faithful partake of His flesh, yet the Lamb remains unharmed and living!”
Exceedingly angered by that adamant refusal, the judge commanded the rebel to be thrown into prison.
The supporters of the rebel, who stood outside the judging quarters, raised an uproar to free him.
But the one who was punished, personally calmed the mob, and earnestly pleaded with them to desist, as he was hastening towards an ardently desired crown of martyrdom.
When he was led to the place of martyrdom, on beholding the cross from far, he cried out:
“O Good Cross… so long desired and now set up for my longing soul, I confidently, with rejoicing come to you!
Exultingly receive me, a disciple of Him who hung on you.”
>> Within a few moments, he was tied to the cross – an X-shaped Cross!
For two days, he hung there.. alive… unceasingly proclaiming the Teachings of Christ, until he passed on to Him, whose likeness in death, he so ardently desired!
This brave martyr of Christ was St Andrew, the Apostle of Jesus, whose feast we celebrate today.
A few years back, this valiant martyr, St Andrew, had received the call of the Lord, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4: 19)
The name “Andrew” in Greek means “manly” or “a person of valour”.
St Andrew was from Bethsaida, in Galilee.
>> He was a fisherman, by trade and a former disciple of John the Baptist.
St Andrew is said to have been martyred at Patras in southern Greece on a cross which was in the shape of an “X”.
>>This type of cross has long been known as “St. Andrew’s cross.”
>> This St Andrew’s Cross, is depicted, on the national flag of Scotland.
One of the wonderful things that we learn from St Andrew is his wonderful quality of being a “Introducer to Christ”, as seen in the various instances of the Gospel
1. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, his brother Peter (Jn 1: 40-42)
>> “We have found the Messiah” (Jn 1:41) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to his brother
2. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ”, the little boy with the five loaves and two fish, which would be later, multiplied for five thousand men! (Jn 6: 5-13)
>> “There is a little boy, who has five barley loaves and two fish…” (Jn 6:9) were the words with which he introduced Jesus to the little boy
3. It was St Andrew who “introduced to Christ” the Greeks who had come up to worship at the feast, at the request of Philip (Jn 12: 20-23)
>> “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12: 23) were the words with which Jesus reacted when he was introduced to the Greeks.
Thus, we see that St Andrew became an instrument and an active medium of “Introducing to Christ” many people.
As a Christian, this ought to be one great quality and duty that we ought to follow – “Introducing to Christ” many people…like St Andrew.
>> And this can be one of the beautiful practical resolutions, that we can, do, all the 25 days of this Advent Season, in preparation for the Birth of Christ, into our hearts and life – “Introducing to Christ”
How can I take up this task of “Introducing to Christ”?
Many around us long to hear a word of encouragement in their brokenness, receive a word of consolation in their struggles and encounter a smile of hope in their helplessness
>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His love, to His message of hope, to His treasury of providence?
Many around us have immersed themselves into the murky waters of sin, immorality, injustice and insensitivity to people and nature
>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His ocean of mercy, to His fountain of justice and to His abundance of warmth?
Many around us have separated themselves and live in isolation – from people in relationships, from the Church and Her teachings, from the responsibilities and duties of their works and the society.
>> Can I “Introduce them to Christ” – to His dimension of wholeness in relations, to His Life-giving Sacraments and to His instruction of being faithful?
St Andrew heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”
>> He was touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master
>> He was zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus
>> He was even willing, to lay down his life, in imitation of his Master, for love of Him
We too, have heard the call of the Lord – “to follow Him”
>> Are we touched by His love and was filled with a passion for His Master
>> Are we zealous to bring many more to the Love of Jesus
>> Are we also, willing, to lay down our life, in imitation of our Master, for love of Him
May St Andrew intercede for us and inspire us, by his tremendous love for the Master…
…. And may we too, like him, become people who “Introduce many to Christ”!
Happy Feast of St Andrew, the zealous Apostle who “Introduced many to Christ”!
God Bless! Live Jesus!