Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

St. Andrew Apostle

For our weekly meditation of the Collects of the Roman Missals, we turn today to the Collect for the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, which we celebrated on Friday (11/30). The following is the official ICEL translation of this Collect in the MR’70, and it is identical to that of the MR’62:

“We humbly implore Your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew was for Your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before You. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, etc., Amen.”

This prayer is deceptively simple, but it actually speaks eloquently of the person and character of St. Andrew in particular, as well as the heavenly office of the Twelve Apostles collectively. On earth, they brought others to Jesus in their preaching, sanctifying, and governing. In heaven, this mission continues uninterruptedly, as they exercise powerful solicitude for the Church by their intercession. Indeed, this is why the celebration of their feasts, the veneration of their relics, and pilgrimages to their tombs (and the sites connected with their lives and miracles) have always been integral to the Church’s life.

If we recall from St. John’s Gospel, there are three instances where St. John shows St. Andrew bringing other people to Jesus. He acts as a mediator by introducing his brother Simon Peter to Jesus (1:40- 42), by bringing the boy with the five loaves and two fish to Jesus prior to the miraculous multiplication (6:8-11), and by making a bold intercession to Jesus on behalf of some Gentiles who wanted to see Him (12:20-22). In doing all these things (and probably more), St. Andrew is just like his previous teacher, St. John the Baptist, whose sole mission and desire was to point other people to Jesus (cf. John 1:29, 36; 3:30). In this way, St. Andrew was St. John the Baptist’s model disciple, which made him especially fit to be one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles.  

In his life, just like the rest of the Apostles, St. Andrew boldly preached Christ to many peoples after the Resurrection, and suffered a terrible martyrdom (crucifixion on an X-shaped cross). His martyrdom testifies to his deep share in the love which Jesus demonstrated and proclaimed so beautifully before His Passion: "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (cf. John 15:12-13, RSV).

In heaven, the love of the Apostles for Christ and His Church is not diminished, but intensified, as are the spiritual capacities of all the saints who stand before the Throne and the Lamb (cf. Rev. 4-5; 21:14). Thus, St. Andrew’s love for us as a spiritual father is quite strong. His will is in perfect conformity with the will of Jesus, and so, he desires for us every grace that we need to become the saints that God has called us to become.

In view of this, we could apply these words of St. John in his Third Letter to any of the Apostles, including St. Andrew: “No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth” (cf. 3 John 1:4, RSV). In heaven, St. Andrew continues to be the mediator that he always was while on earth, doing all possible to bring us, his spiritual children, into greater communion with Christ.

The following excerpt from St. John Chrysostom, read in the Divine Office for St. Andrew’s feast, is certainly worthy for our meditation: “Andrew’s words [“We have found the Messiah”] reveal a soul waiting with the utmost longing for the coming of the Messiah, looking forward to His appearing from heaven, rejoicing when He does appear, and hastening to announce so great an event to others. To support one another in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, of loving kinship, and sincere affection.

Like St. Peter, we can confidently count on St. Andrew’s “support, good will, loving kinship, and sincere affection” in his powerful intercession for us. Thanks be to God!  

(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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