By Mel Jasmin
St. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was born in the Galilean village of Bethsaida. Originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist, Andrew then became the first of Jesus’ disciples (John 1:35-40). His name regularly appears in the Gospels near the top of the lists of the Twelve. It was he who first introduced his brother Simon to Jesus (John 1:41-42). He was, in a real sense, the first home missionary, as well as the first foreign missionary (John 12:20-22). Tradition says Andrew was martyred by crucifixion on a cross in the form of an X. In AD 357, his body is said to have been taken to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople and later removed to the cathedral of Amalfi in Italy. Centuries later, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. St. Andrew’s Day determines the beginning of the Western Church Year, since the First Sunday in Advent is always the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew’s Day.
Though he is only mentioned in the Gospels a few times, St. Andrew has proved himself to be a crucial figure in the New Testament. Each time St. Andrew appears in the Gospels, it is a turning point or famous act in Jesus’ ministry. Although the spotlight does not shine on St. Andrew as brightly as other apostles (compared to his brother St. Peter), St. Andrew has three profound lessons we can learn from his life, especially as we prepare for his feast day on November 30.
How do we speak up about our faith even when it is uncomfortable or seems silly? How do we teach others about Christ? Do we share our meager solutions, even when it seems they are impossible to work, just like the loaves and fishes seemed impossible? Sometimes, by sharing Jesus with others, we can pave the way for something or someone even greater than us, just like St. Andrew bringing Peter, “the rock” of Jesus’ church.