Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew, Apostle and martyr. I was surprised when I did a Google search for Andrew that one of the results was a blog post that I wrote on his feast in 2011. It actually wasn’t bad! It makes me wonder if my ability to put words together on a page (or screen) isn’t less than it once was. Old age isn’t for sissies!
Anyway, I thought it might be worth while, on this first Monday of Advent, to take a stroll down memory lane and revisit Saint Andrew.
A quick word-association: What do you think of when you hear Saint Andrew‘s name. Hopefully you think “Apostle” or “martyr”, buy if you’re like me you probably think “Simon’s brother”. Even the Ordo, the Church’s book of daily prayers, mass readings, and other helpful stuff for clergy says “Andrew, + 1st c.; brother of Simon Peter“.
We can learn a lot from Andrew. All of us live in someone’s shadow. Whether it be a spouse or a sibling, someone in school or someone at work, there always seems to be someone who gets more recognition, more respect than we do, at least in our own minds. Think of Andrew. He’s the one who brought Simon to Jesus. Yet, Jesus always seemed to favor Simon in spite of the fact that he was constantly messing things up. It was Simon who Jesus called “Satan”. It was Simon who cut off the centurion’s ear. It was Simon who denied Jesus three times. In spite of all his failings, it was Simon who Jesus put in charge of His new church.
What about Andrew? He did his job. He spread the Gospel just as Jesus had called him to do. And he suffered a martyr’s death. Twenty centuries later we remember Andrew, but primarily as Simon Peter’s brother.
It’s appropriate that Andrew’s feast day falls within Advent. As we pray and reflect in preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s birth we can compare Andrew’s life with our own. Who are the Simon Peters in your life? More important, how do you interact with them? Are you jealous or are you glad to have them in your life? Are they positive role models?
Like I said yesterday, God made each of us to be unique individuals. Rather than envy someone else’s accomplishments, embrace them and learn what you can from them to make yourself a better you. I have four grown-up children. Each of them is a unique individual. Each one excels in different things. I’m sure that at one time or another they’ve all felt like they were living in one another’s shadows. But the reality is that each one is the wind beneath the others’ wings.
Today’s challenge is to think about the people in your life who seem to get all the attention. What can you learn from them? More important, how can you use the gifts God has given you to be a better “you” instead of an imitation “them”.
After 2,000 years we may think of Andrew as Simon Peter’s brother, but the thing is we’re still thinking about him.