Tomorrow (Saturday) evening with Vigil Masses we begin the Season of Advent, the first day of the new Church year, the first day of the month of December and the first day of our Food for Faith daily reflections in preparation for Christmas.
Today’s feast of St Andrew gives us the opportunity to anticipate all these firsts with another first. Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus.
St John Chrysostom writing 1700 years ago reflected
“After Andrew had stayed with Jesus and had learned much from him, he did not keep this treasure to himself, but hastened to share it with his brother. Notice what Andrew said to him [Simon Peter]: We have found the Messiah, that is to say, the Christ.”
St Basil the Great also writing at the same time as Chrysostom really emphasised the firsts:
“Andrew was the first to become an Apostle. It was he who opened the gates of Christ’s teaching. He was the first to gather the fruits cultivated by the prophets, and he surpassed the hopes of all by being the first to embrace the one awaited by all…”
In a society where we are pressured to fit in and follow the crowd let’s not be afraid to be the first to stand and speak for what we know be good and true and beautiful.
If we follow Christ we experience freedom. With Christ we are freed from the trap of following every fad, fashion, celebrity or opinion.
In this way we followers become leaders.
When we seek to follow Christ more intimately we become leaders like Andrew, the first to act and speak with Christ in every situation.
As we begin this Advent pilgrimage let’s anticipate four weeks of growth in maturity in relationship with Christ. Let’s expect to experience His presence in the midst of our daily realities. Let’s pray too that Jesus will cast out all our fear, giving us freedom so that we will not be afraid to be first to stand and act and speak our faith.