BRING THEM IN: A HOMILY ON THE FEAST OF ST. ANDREW, APOSTLE AND MARTYR
If St. Andrew has a favorite song, I think it would be the hymn titled ‘Bring them in, bring them in’. St. Andrew has a special quality of a match-maker, and this is something that should be in the mind of everyone who proclaims the good News. In the first reading today, we are told that Faith comes from what is preached and what is preached comes frm the word of Christ. Nobody will ask for help unless they believe in Christ and nobody will believe unless they heard of Him, and nobody will hear unless there is a peacher and there will be no preacher unless one is sent. Oh, how beautiful is the feet of the one who brings good news.
We see this in the life of St. Andrew. Andrew is the elder brother of St. Peter. Our gospel of today from Matthew 4:18-22 narrates how Peter and andrew were fishing at the lake and Jesus came to call them and they abandoned everything and followed him, but this passage should not be understood in isolation. If we read John 1:39-42, we will notice that Jesus first called Andrew and Andrew is the one who introduced his younger brother Peter to Jesus. In John 6:8-9, he is the one who brings the young boy with the five loaves and two fishes to Jesus. In John 12:20-22, when the Greeks went to meet Philip, Philip, as if to call the expert, went to tell Andrew and both Andrew and Philip took them to Jesus.
Andrew was crucified on and X shaped cross, which was intended to make him talk less, but he continued to preach from the cross for two more days. This is a man who is not so much interested in positions or earthly gains. Even though he introduced his brother to Jesus, his brother became the head of the apostles, but this did not make him jealous. We ourselves have to be committed, not just in growing spiritually and being in an intimate relationship with the Lord. Bringing other people to the Lord also help us to be strong in our own faith as well. You understand the good news better when you start proclaiming it. There is nothing that stops you from inviting your friends and family to join you even in your private prayer. There is nothing that stops you from asking a friend to go with you to Mass or to join you in praying the divine office, the rosary, etc. You cannot go to heaven alone. Heaven will not be heaven if you are the only one there. Let us sing with St. Andrew.
Hark! ’tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear,
Out in the desert dark and drear,
Calling the sheep who’ve gone astray
Far from the Shepherd’s fold away.
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring them in, from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in,
Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
Who’ll go and help this Shepherd kind,
Help him the wand’ring ones to find?
Who’ll bring the lost ones to the fold,
Where they’ll be sheltered from the cold?
Out in the desert hear their cry,
Out on the mountains wild and high;
Hark! ’tis the Master speaks to thee,
“Go find my sheep where’er they be.”