Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr. November 30th, 2009.
Lectionary # 684:
Andrew, the brother of Peter, is the first apostle to be a follower of
Jesus in John's Gospel. His name in
Greek means "manly." It is he who serves as an interpreter for the Lord
and the apostolic group when it comes to meeting the Gentiles. We remember
that the area of commerce was called Galilee of the Gentiles in the
Gospels. He is especially honored as the founder of the Christian faith in
Greek speaking countries and is the patron of Greece. Both the Orthodox
and Catholic (Byzantine) traditions venerate him in a special way as their
patron. We remember how it was at Antioch that the followers of Jesus were
first called "Christianoi", that is, Christians. (see Acts 11:26).
Andrew is not only prominent in the Fourth Gospel for introducing Simon
Peter to Jesus but also for helping set up the event of the feeding of the
five thousand for Jesus by pointing out the boy with loaves and fish. He
appears later in announcing to Jesus that the "Greeks" are eager to meet
and see Jesus.
The "X" shaped cross is the symbol for the martyrdom of St. Andrew which is
traditionally said to have taken place in Patros, Greece. This Cross is on
the flag or lumber jack for Scotland who also is the patron of that
The liturgical reading of the Gospel however is from the Gospel of Matthew
where the first four disciples are called from the fishing boats to follow
Jesus. They are Andrew, Peter, John, and James. Peter however has the
prominent place in this Gospel. These four are never interrupted in their
appearance as a group among the other eight. They are special to Jesus and
accompany him on special occasions--at least, three of them do
(Transfiguration, healing of a young girl, and at Gethsemane).
Andrew always is the feast on which the beginning of Advent hinges. This
may help us to think about the apostolic or missionary dimension to our
Advent ponderings. We are always being motivated to think about others not
just ourselves as we move through this sacred season of prayer. Love
results from our dedication to the dimension of faith and hope. The first
reading urges us to have faith in the word of God. Amen.
Scripture: Lectionary # 176: First Monday in Advent. Isaiah 2:1-5. Palm
122:1-9. Matthew 8:5-11:
Advent is a season for deepening our faith, hope, and love. These three
habits of the heart and will unite us to the Trinity and are known as
theological virtues. We start the ordinary first Monday of Advent with the
theme of faith which was also announced in the feast of St.Andrew that is
the harbinger of Advent. Matthew is giving us a vibrant and dynamic
account of the centurion who is asking Jesus to save his son or his
Jesus marvels at the soldier's faith and proclaims that he represents the
coming of others from the East and West into the kingdom of God. This
refers to the universal call to salvation already seen in the Magi in
Matthew's Gospel. They were from Persia or modern Iran. We Gentiles are
thus part of the call of Jesus to have such faith as this centurion. We
are not to make any odious comparisons with the Israelites for they are
already called to be a part of the kingdom.
For us this scene is a summons to develop our faith and to grow within it
to its full maturity into the likeness of Christ. During the season of
Advent we can atune ourselves to the words of the centurion that are kept
alive in our ears by what we hear at each Eucharist, "O Lord, I am not
worthy, that thou shouldst come under my roof." We add "Say but the word
and my soul shall be healed (saved)."
Since Advent is a season of faith, hope, and love we are called to think
along the lines of our first beautiful reading from Isaiah. It is filled
with hope and with a call to bring about peace by transforming our weapons
into instruments of tilling and developing rather than weapons of war. We
stream to the holy Mountain of Jerusalem called Zion and we take on the
revelatory verse of Isaiah 2:3c: "For out of Zion shall go forth the law
(instruction, revelation) and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." The
word Torah here means religious and moral instruction. The verse also
means "...either the prophetic comment on the action of the nations'
exhortation to one another beginning with "come ye". If the latter, the
verb should be rendered "goeth forth."(Soncino Commentary, p.10 of Isaiah).
All of us are called to be Advent people of hope and peace and are to walk
in the light of the Lord. Amen.
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