The Feast of St. Andrew
(Rm 10:9-18, Mt 4:18-22)
Some people love to be in the spotlight. When you’re visiting with them, they somehow have a habit of always bringing the conversation back to themselves. If you could make a cartoon drawing of a person like that it might look like a room full of people with this person standing on a table asserting, “Hey everybody, it’s all about me!”
Another image might be an auditorium with a stage and audience section. Everything is dark except for a spotlight up on stage. Let’s say the performers up on stage have a way of moving the spotlight themselves. It’s as if some people like to move the spotlight away from themselves when they find it there, and others like to bring it back when they see it has drifted away.
Today we are celebrating the feast of St. Andrew. He seems to be the type of person who is content to not be in the limelight. As I’ve mentioned in a previous homily, he was one of the first four disciples chosen but is left out of the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, and the inner circle of Gethsemani. James and John were more flamboyant and received the name “Sons of Thunder.” Peter was more talkative and impetuous and gets a lot more attention in the New Testament. But the few times we see the spotlight on Andrew, he quickly directs it away to someone else.
In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, John the Baptist points to Jesus and says, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” Andrew and John follow him and spend the rest of the day with him. The next day, Andrew does not use the occasion to call attention to himself but seeks out Simon Peter and says, “We have found the Messiah!” The focus is on Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah.
The spotlight picks out Andrew again in John 6:8. But Andrew quickly deflects it away from himself to a boy with five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus is then able to use that information to feed a crowd of five thousand.
Andrew’s name shows up again in the 12th chapter of John. Some Greeks want to see Jesus and approach Philip. He, in turn, approaches Andrew and passes on their request. Andrew does not try to impress them with himself but quickly makes their request known to Jesus.
I think of times in my own life when I have tried to draw attention to myself and impress people . . . and I cringe. I guess if we can keep God at the center of our lives rather than ourselves, all these other things will fall into place on their own.