ANDREW is a disciple of John the Baptist, the voice crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:39). Often, Andrew asks if Jesus is the Messiah, but always, John’s answer is “no.”
Twice, Andrew heard John acknowledge Jesus as “Lamb of God,” when they saw Him.
Andrew met Jesus when they were invited to see where He lived. Overwhelmed, they stayed with Him the entire day.
Andrew, son of Jonah, is from Bethsaida, a town of Gentiles and Jews near the sea of Galilee.
Greeks call him the Protoclete—the first called.
The first to declare Jesus as Mesiah, he excitedly narrated how he met Him: “We have found the Mesiah…come and see,” he begged his brother Simon.
In Lord’s Dreamteam, Paul O’Donnell described Andrew’s overflowing joy: “I just had to tell someone. It was the greatest moment of my life—what everything had been leading up to. But how could I explain to Simon the way I felt in the Master’s presence? It was necessary that he saw for himself.”
Jesus, seeing Simon for the first time, said: “You are Simon, the son of John [Jonah], you will be called Kephas [Peter],” which means rock in Aramaic. Simon, before Christian times, is also called Bariona, son of Jonah, according to the New American Bible (John 1:42).
Peter followed Jesus, became a member of the Lord’s inner circle of friends with James and John.
To Peter, Jesus entrusted the keys of heaven who became the first Pope of the Catholic Church.
Andrew: Mediator for Jesus
Andrew did not only pave the way for the meeting of Jesus and Simon, but also between a boy and Jesus in the multiplication of bread.
It was Andrew who presented the boy with five barley loaves and two fishes, which Jesus increased tremendously to feed a crowd of 5,000, with 12 wicker baskets of bread left (John 6:9-13).
Among the disciples, only Andrew and Philip had Greek names. Andrew means manly, and Philip, a lover of horses. Too, they somehow spoke Greek.
It is but logical that the Greeks prefer one to act as go-between them and Jesus. To Simon, they said: “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:12).
However, Philip sought the help of Andrew and together, they approached Jesus about the request. According to theologians, this was the signal of the “coming of Jesus’ death.” After the death of Jesus, Andrew was assigned to preach in Asia Minor, now modern-day Greece.
In the year 60, he was crucified in Patras, Greece, on an x-shaped cross.
His relics were brought to Constantinople in 357 and transferred in Amalfi, Italy.
His skull was brought to Rome in 1462. Fr. Enzo Lodi in Saints of the Roman Calendar adds that his relics were returned in Patras, Greece, in 1964 as an “ecumenical gesture.”
There is so much devotion to him in the Byzantine Church.
Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Russia and Scotland.
Faith is shared
Faith is a personal adherence of man to God. In faith, man entrusts oneself entirely to God, believes absolutely all the truths God revealed, according to Catechism of the Catholic Church 150.
In a world where so much sufferings prevail, hunger abounds, evil forces are unabated in creating and spreading fear and discords, many people doubt and question faith in a loving and merciful God. Likewise, injustices, senseless deaths of innocent people, and the myriad forms of man’s inhumanity to others shake resolves to live in faith.
But, “we walk by faith, not by sight,” counsels Saint Peter, inspiring Christians how to confront problems in communities, according to 2 Corinthians 5:7.
Saint Andrew is an epitome of a Christian who, after finding Jesus, responded to the call of faith, did not keep it for himself, shared and persevered the walk even in the night of faith until death.
As a human family, Christians should be reminded of Saint Paul’s words to the Romans: “That neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor death, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38).
Santiago is a former regional director of the Department of Education National Capital Region. She is currently a faculty member of Mater Redemptoris College in Laguna.