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Summary: At the beginning of the Season of Advent we prepare to celebrate the First Coming of Jesus and remember the promise that He will return; meantime we are to be His witnesses, His disciples in the present age, bringing people to Him, just as Andrew brought

Acts 1: 1-11

St Andrew’s Day

Advent is all about preparing to celebrating the incarnation;

the historical fact that God came to earth in the form of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Word became flesh in order to teach and heal and come to the help of sinners

by dying on the cross to take away the punishment they deserve

so that they could have a relationship with God.

This is the time of the Church’s year when we remember that God came to His people,

but how for the most part they rejected Him and even put Him to death.

Today’s reading from Acts 1 tells us, encourages us, or warns us,

that the Son of Man will come back one day,

not as a baby born in an insignificant middle-eastern village the next time,

but as King of kings and Lord of lords, coming in clouds with great power and glory.

No more in a state of humiliation as he did the first time, but in a state of exaltation,

and while those who love him and follow him will be pleased,

those who have rejected him and only used his name as a swear word will be devastated.

Until that day comes, Paul in 1st Corinthians 1

tells us to eagerly wait for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

and trust him meantime to help us to be His witnesses, His disciples of the 21st century.

One such Christian who took this advice was the disciple and apostle Andrew.

The New Testament records in Matt 4:18, Mark 1:16 and Luke 6:14

that St Andrew was a son of Jonah, or John;

that he was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee,

and that both he and his brother Simon Peter were fishermen by trade,

hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples

by saying that He will make them "fishers of men".

The Gospel of John (in chap 1:40) teaches that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist,

whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus.

The name "Andrew" comes from the Greek : "áíäñåßá" = Andreia

which means ‘manhood’, ‘manly’ or ‘valour’.

Andrew was manly or brave enough to follow John the Baptist

who was a rebel as far as the Jewish priests were concerned

and ended up having his head cut off,

and Andrew was manly or brave enough to give up his job and livelihood

to follow Jesus;

disciples having no wage or fixed place of work or ‘employment rights’

and facing opposition from the Jewish authorities almost every day.

Somehow, (through the agency of the Holy Spirit)

Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah,

and hastened to introduce him to his brother (John 1:41).

For the rest of their lives the two brothers were disciples of Christ.

If Andrew had not come to Jesus, then maybe Peter would never have come,

and for Catholics, there would have been no pope,

or at least not one called Cephas or Peter, ‘the rock’.

This challenges us: if we are here because WE recognize Jesus as Saviour,

do we do all WE can to introduce our relatives, friends and neighbours to Jesus?

Are we ‘fishers of men’?

November 30th is St Andrew’s Day here in Scotland,

but as well as being patron saint of Scotland Andrew is also patron saint of Russia,

and of Sicily, Greece, Romania, Amalfi, and Luqa (Malta);

and patron saint of Army Rangers, mariners, fishermen, fishmongers, rope-makers, singers and performers, sore throats, spinsters, maidens, old maids

and women wishing to become mothers.

Andrew receives only a bare mention in the Book of Acts.

In chapter 1:13 he is listed as one of the witnesses of Jesus’ ascension into heaven,

but the early church historian Eusebius quotes Origen

as saying that Andrew preached the Gospel in Greece, Asia Minor and in Scythia,

along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev.

This is how he became the patron saint of Romania and Russia.

According to tradition, he founded the See or Diocese of Byzantium,

which would be re-named Constantinople and is now called Istanbul in AD 38.

Andrew is supposed to have installed a priest called Stachys as bishop.

and this diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. ,

and Andrew is recognized as the patron saint of the city.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at Patras in Achaea,

but he did not die in the same way as Jesus;

early church history texts say Andrew was bound, not nailed, to a cross;

but a tradition grew up that Andrew had been crucified on a cross

of the form called ‘Crux decussata’ (an X-shaped cross),

which as a result is now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross".

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