Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Andrew, the Apostle. The gospel of John tells us that he was the first of the apostles to be called by Jesus. As a disciple of John, Andrew immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah. So when Jesus told him to “Come follow,” (Mt 4:19) he did just that. He then, in turn, brought his brother, Peter, to meet Jesus. (Jn 1:40-41).
I started writing this article on Saturday afternoon and had a bit of a writer’s block. I considered “this” and then I considered “that”, but all left me unsatisfied. So I looked at the daily Mass readings. Today’s first reading is from Paul’s letter to the Romans. One line in that passage jumped off the page: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.” It jumped off the page because earlier in the day, I had been singing, practicing for a wedding this coming Saturday, and one of songs I will sing is “How Beautiful” by Twila Paris. One of my favorite lines in the song is, “How beautiful the feet that bring the sound of good news and the love the King.” I sing it with great joy and conviction. So I took this as way of hearing His voice and doing what He tells me. It was then very clear what the Lord had planned for us today.
Saint Paul writes to the Romans:
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. (Rm 10:11-17)
Paul wrote this to the Romans almost 2,000 years ago, but it still applies today. We are those beautiful feet who are to bring the good news. We are the ones who are sent. We are those who must preach. Especially in this season of Advent as we prepare for Jesus’ birth anew, we must ponder the good news and bring it to a world longing to hear it.
How do people hear it? They hear it through our words – what we say and what we don’t say – and through our actions.
Saint Peter tells us to “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1Pt 3:15) We must know our faith. As disciples we must share it. Sometimes that’s hard to do, as we fumble to find the words. Often we have a very short window to articulate what we want to say. The best thing to do is to be prepared intellectually and spiritually. Know your faith and know it in simple and complex ways so that you can share it with anyone – the catechized and the uncatechized alike. And, pray. Pray to the Holy Spirit for knowledge and understanding, for wisdom to know when to speak and when not to, and for courage act.
We’ve all heard it said that actions speak louder than words. To be considered authentic Catholics, we must live virtuous lives. Charity, humility, patience, kindness, chastity, and temperance must be hallmarks of our lives – but all in a way that invites and doesn’t scorn those who are “less virtuous”. We are all prone to compare and judge others. People know when they’re being judged; they know when they are the topic of conversation – even if it’s only in our own heads. Look for opportunities to exercise virtue – at work, in the home, in the grocery store, on the road, at the playground, at the coffee shop – wherever you are, decide to act with virtue. It truly is a choice.
Finally, greet Jesus in everyone you meet. I once read in The Reed of God about a man who greeted Jesus every time he met another person – even before He said, “Hello,” to the person, her said, “Hello,” to Jesus first. In looking for Jesus first, he saw with eyes of love. He saw the beauty of God’s creation in another; he saw what God saw. If we do that to each other, both friend and stranger, we can transform our world one greeting at a time.
So today and in the days ahead, as you meander through your day, greet Jesus first when you meet another. This will shape your thoughts, actions, and reactions, and you will bring Jesus into the world yet again.
In His light, Anne
By the way, St. Andrews Christmas Novena starts today. Would you join me in praying it?