November 30 is the feast day of St. Andrew, the first apostle called by Jesus. He was the brother of St. Peter and introduced Peter to Jesus. There is very little we know about his life. The Gospels show him present in the ministry of Jesus but in the background, while Peter, James, and John are out front.
The Gospel of Mark (1:16-17) tells of his call by Jesus.
- As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.
- Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
The first chapter of the Gospel of John presents the call differently:
- The next day John (the Baptist) was there again with two of his disciples,
- and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
- The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
- Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
- He said to them,”Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon.
- Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
- He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed).
- Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
- The next day he decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”
- Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter.
There is a tradition that St. Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross at Patras in Greece. We don’t really know where he went to spread the Gospel. Many countries from Greece to Russia claim him. He is the patron saint of Scotland.
These few lines from the Gospels show us a working man who heard the call of John the Baptist with his brother Peter and then followed after the Man John had called the Lamb of God. There is always a human desire to know more about such a person, but what we do know is that St. Andrew challenges us to leave our nets behind and follow too.