ROM. 10:9-18/ PS. 19:2-3,4-5. MATTHEW 4:18-22
There are three homilies here on today’s readings may you be blessed as you read
Fr. Evaristus Okeke
Called to be Fishers of Men not Fishermen
On this very last day of this liturgical year, we providentially celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. For two weeks now, the readings have continued to talk about preparing for the end. What other way to conclude this constant admonition on the end than to present us with the life of one who imitated Christ to the point of martyrdom.
The gospel reading of today enlightens us on the fact that salvation is not something that has been predestined for certain persons. Salvation is for those who hear the voice of Christ and give a positive response. Andrew and his brother Peter, grew up like every other youth in their locality. Their occupation was not different from what was predominant amongst the people: fishing. Minding their own business, they represent man in the state of nature whereby all he does is for himself. All his labour is geared towards satisfying his daily needs.
When Jesus called Andrew and Peter his brother, he changed their career. They will no longer catch fish for their personal need; instead, they will now catch men, not for themselves but for God. If they were to become fishers of men for their personal gain, then they would be practicing slavery/human trafficking. But since they were catching men for God, they were simply participating in the co-redemptive work of Jesus.
This is something we really need to take to heart if our preparation for our earthly end must be meaningful. A time comes in life when our affinity with all that we have acquired expires: family, possessions, positions, connections and so on. At such moment, the only thing that will stand is what we have done for others. Love has no end. The first reading makes it clear that the feet of those who preach the goodnews are beautiful. That is, the real beauty of life is experienced when we live for others.
In the gospel acclamation, Jesus said: “follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. By this Jesus tells his would-be followers that only those who can live for others will be able to belong to him. If you want to remain a fisherman; one who fends for himself alone, then you cannot belong to Jesus.
Living for others has its pains and hurts such as being taken for granted, being misunderstood, and so on. However, these are the very definitions of martyrdom in our world today. You may not be faced with death for being a good Christian, but you will surely be presented with all forms of obstacles and discouragement. Your refusal to give in is your martyrdom.
St. Andrew is said to have been martyred during the reign of Nero at Patras on 30 November 60 by being tied (not nailed) to a cross made like the letter X. in this way, his suffering was prolonged. Andrew is said to have continued to preach to the faithful for two days before his expiring. He is the patron of Russia and of Scotland, also of fishermen and of Spinsters. St. Andrew…Pray for us. God Bless You!
Fr. Dan Evbotokhai
Jesus says to Peter and Andrew “follow me” the same way he said to the Levi “follow me” to John and James “Follow me”. To follow him means to imitate him. Andrew means “manly” or “courageously” so he courageously followed Jesus. To courageously follow Jesus is a call to discipleship; the way of discipleship is the way of the cross. Discipleship without the cross is a wrong ship you will not get to the right destination. Jesus says this in Lk.14: 25–27 when he says “…Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”. Who is a disciple? The New Ratio no. 61 says a “disciple is one whom the Lord has called to stay with him, to follow him, and to become a missionary of the Gospel”. As disciples, let us stay with him and follow him and witnessing shall be our life style.
Today we have become too obsessed with leadership and not follower-ship. Thus all we hear is leadership conference and not followership conference. A good leader was once led. We need to be good followers to become good leaders. If we follow then we shall not wallow; many Christians are wallowing about because they have not decided to follow Jesus; rather they follow pastors. If we follow Jesus we shall get to heaven but when we follow pastors we shall get to their house. Matthew followed him and made a feast and so if we follow him we shall glow and not groan.
Peter and Andrew followed him and became fishers of men. If we follow Jesus we shall become fishers of men. To be fishers of men is to be missionaries that is, those who preach the gospel that the first reading talked about. St Andrew whose feast we celebrate today followed Christ ardently and became a missionary for him, he was martyred on an X-shaped cross for what he believed and today he is numbered among the saints we pray that through his intercession we shall become true followers of Jesus Christ and be numbered among the saints. Amen.
Give me the grace to follow..
REVD FR. PHILIP MARIO EKWELI.
Today the universal Church celebrates the feast of St. Andrew, a great apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ and the brother of Simon Peter. “As Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’, immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mtt4:18-20).
John the Evangelist presents Andrew as the disciple of John the Baptist who introduced Peter to Jesus and another disciple. Following Jesus, they “stayed with him that day” (John1:38-42). Andrew’s vocation seems to have been to introduce people to Christ. He first of all introduced Peter to Christ. He later introduced the boy with five barley loaves and two fishes to Jesus, which Jesus multiplied to feed more than five thousand people.
Furthermore, Andrew in union with Philip from Bethsaida introduced some Greeks to Jesus. The Greeks who had come to worship at the festival said to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
Beloved, are we sincerely introducing others to Jesus, to the Good news or to our Christian faith? Instead of some of us to introduce others to Jesus, we rather tear apart the mystical body of Christ by castigating others, pulling them down, hatred, jealousy, gossips and backbiting etc. God help us. Like Andrew, we are called to build up the kingdom of God by bringing others to salvation and not to scare them away.
Succinctly, the first reading tells us what it takes to believe in the gospel of Christ and gain salvation. St. Paul says, all we need to do is to confess with our lips the Lordship of Jesus and believe in our hearts, then we are saved. He further claims that no one who believes in Jesus will be put to shame. Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ (Rom10:17).
The gospel text, tells us the call of Andrew and his brother Peter, and the sons of Zebedee and their rapt responses. Do we respond to Jesus’ calling? Or what is our responses toward the kingdom of God? Our attitudes determine our responses.
In conclusion, our faith teaches us to engage in serious evangelization and not to sit back and do otherwise. Like Andrew, let us cue into the ministry of Jesus and introduce others to the author of life. In all we do, faith is central. May God bless his words in our hearts through Christ our Lord. Amen.