ANDREW, the brother of Simon Peter, a fisher- man, born in Bethsaida by the sea Genesareth and living at Capharnaum, was at first a disciple of John the Baptist, who seeing the Lord pass by pointed Him out saying: "Behold the Lamb of God!" Andrew hearing these words went at once to Christ, bringing with him Peter, his brother, and having been filled with the Holy Ghost on Pentecost, he traveled through Syria, Epirus and Greece, everywhere announcing the glad tidings of salvation, and at last suffered a martyr's death at Patras, in Achia, where he had established his episcopal seat. While he was preaching Christ at Patras, he was urged by the governor Aegeas, with violent threats, to offer sacrifice to idols; but he bravely replied: "I daily offer sacrifice to the Almighty God, not the flesh of oxen, nor the blood of rams, but an unspotted Lamb; and although all the faithful may have partaken of his flesh, yet the Lamb remains as before he was offered, alive and undivided." The unchangeable hero of the faith was then thrown into prison by command of the enraged governor, who, since he could not force him to deny Christ, condemned him to be cruelly scourged and then crucified.
When he was brought out to be crucified, and saw his cross, he cried out: "Hail, precious cross, consecrated by the body of Christ! adorned as with precious jewels by the limbs of Christ! Well do the faithful know what joy lies in thee, and to what glorious reward thou dost lead! O good cross, I have ardently loved thee, long desired and sought thee, and now thou art found by me! thou art made ready for my yearning soul, receive me into thy arms, take me away from men, carry me to thy divine Master, that He who on thee redeemed me, on thee may receive me."
Having arrived at the cross, the enraptured apostle disrobed himself, permitted himself to be bound to the cross,where he remained hanging two days, continually preaching faith in Christ, until his soul was raised to Him, whom he so ardently desired to resemble even in death. If thou wouldst have part in St. Andrew's glory, thou must follow him in his love of the cross.
According to the general opinion, this holy apostle's instrument of torture consisted of the form of a Roman X.
In the Introit of this day's Mass, the Church says of the apostles: To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable: their principality is exceedingly strengthened. Lord, thou hast proved me and known me: thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up. (Ps. cxxxviii.) Glory &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. We humbly beseech Thy majesty, O Lord: that as the blessed Andrew was raised up to be a preacher and ruler of Thy Church: so he may be our constant intercessor with Thee. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, &c.
EPISTLE. (Rom. x. 10 18.) BRETHREN, With the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded. For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach unless they be sent? as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.
EXPLANATION. The apostle here tells us that it is not sufficient for salvation that we believe with the heart, but we must also openly confess Christ, that is, in words and in deeds, and then only we have the true and living faith in Jesus, when we are never ashamed to profess it. He teaches besides that God makes no difference between Jew and Greek, that is, the Gentiles, but that every one can be saved who believes in Christ, and openly confesses his faith in words and works. But all can believe, since faith comes from hearing", and the word of God through its preachers is everywhere announced. For this reason the Jews and infidels are not excusable for their unbelief, for the Church sends forth, at all times, into all countries, her apostles and preachers of whom it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things. In our days, how much is preached and how little faith is seen! Can such Christians excuse their ignorance, if one day the Lord shall demand an account of their faith?
GOSPEL. (Matt. iv. 18 22.) AT THAT TIME, Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers), and he saith to them: Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately leaving their nets followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. And they forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him.
EXPLANATION. Christ chose His apostles to show us that those only who are called can assume the place of teacher and as He Himself says, must be chosen and sent. (John xv. 16.) He called His apostles at the very commencement of His teaching, that by continual intercourse with Him, by daily hearing His doctrines, by seeing the divine life he led, they might prepare themselves for their great calling. Christ chose simple fishermen as His apostles that the world might know that the introduction of Christianity was the work of God, and that no one could say, Christ won the world to the faith by deceit, force, riches, or
science. I will make you fishers of men, that is, I will give you grace to convert souls and bring them to God. People in the world can and should, in their own way, be fishers of men. Such are they when they incite their associates, or those under them, to listen attentively to the word of God, or give them pious books to read, keep them from bad company, and gently reprove their faults, and St. Augustine says that in this way fathers of families exercise the office of bishops. They immediately followed Christ. We learn from this that we should obey at once the word of God, when it urges us to do good, or to be converted, and that knowing the truth of the divine call, we should put aside all human gains and considerations in order to follow this voice, like the apostles who laid by all temporal profits and followed Jesus when He called them; for He says: He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. (Matt. x. 370)
PRAYER. Most benign Jesus! who hast elevated simple fishermen to the exalted dignity of apostles, thus putting the wisdom and power of this world to shame, grant, we beseech Thee, that their successors may observe Thy teachings, and in faith, hope and charity remain ever Thine.