St. Andrew: Going Unnoticed

Thomas Griffin 11/30/20

“Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist: and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in 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 John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as: ‘the Lamb of God’ (Jn 1:36); so he was stirred and, with another unnamed disciple, followed Jesus…The Evangelist says that ‘they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day…’ (Jn 1:37-39). Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus. The account continues with one important [note]: ‘One of the two who heard John speak, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We found the Messiah’ (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus (Jn 1:40-43), straight away showing us an unusual apostolic spirit. Andrew, then, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus.” [Ratzinger, Joseph. Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007. ( pages 54-55) ]

The feast day of St. Andrew is one that should be most relevant to the contemporary disciple. Andrew always comes in second to his brother, Peter. He goes unnoticed and often unrecognized. He lives in the shadow of Christ and of his brother. In the grand scheme of life we can often experience feelings of insignificance and unworthiness. Following God, in our day and age, can be a sentence to life among the outcasts. St. Andrew paves the way for us to understand how to live out of the spotlight. He always drew near to Christ, listened to him while no one else was around, and allowed Jesus to run the show. 

Andrew steps in today on our journey to the manger and echoes the truth of the Incarnation: following Jesus is not about becoming known or being seen as great in the eyes of the world, but is concerned with a love that has no borders. This insignificant Hebrew child, born in the middle of nowhere and at a time foreign to our technology, is the most important birth in history. At the manger, God will seem insignificant, but nothing could be further from the truth. Insignificance paves the way for the Church. Discipleship is a way of humble service, but great intimacy with the One who calls us by name, and stops at nothing in order to meet us face-to-face. 

Thomas Griffin teaches Apologetics in the religion department at a Catholic high school on Long Island and lives with his wife and son. He received a master’s degree in theology and is currently a master’s candidate in philosophy. He writes for several Catholic media outlets.

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