On this Feast of St. Andrew, we are called to recognize Jesus as our Savior and salvation. It is interesting to note that St. Andrew recognized Jesus early on as the Messiah and introduced Him to Peter, his own fisherman brother. It is most fitting that the readings today emphasize believing with one’s whole heart and soul and putting action to that belief. As we quickly come to the close of Ordinary time and eagerly begin Advent Season, our readings set the stage for a miracle to come.
In the first reading, we are called to be believers and to be public in that belief. It is necessary that we acknowledge this belief in all aspects of our lives and deeds. It matters not who we are; Jesus will save us if we only believe. “. . . Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Many of you have probably heard versions of the story of the man who in desperation calls upon God to save him. Here’s one version:
It is the story of a mountain climber who wanted to climb the highest mountain alone. He was well on his way on the climb nearly at the top but as it was getting darker with zero visibility around him, he fell. He fell through the air for some time and as he fell, he thought about his life – the good and the bad. Suddenly he stopped as the rope around him caught on something. In fear and desperation, he called out, “Help me God.” God replied by asking him what he wanted. Of course he said to be saved. God asked if he really believed that God could save him. He immediately replied that he did. God directed him to cut the rope and he would be saved. The man’s reaction was probably the one that many of us would have, he held even more tightly to the rope. When daylight came, they found the man, clinging tightly to the rope, frozen, and only 10 feet above the ground. . .
How do we react when we are asked to “cut the rope?” Do we hang on and cling even more tightly to those material things in which we find comfort? Do we mouth belief yet act as non-believers? Can we/do we really trust in the Lord and His salvation for us? Do we act as though, as presented in the responses, “your words, Lord, are Spirit and life?” So often, we seek God in our desperation, yet want the answers to be the ones we have already chosen. It is so hard to truly let go and let God.
The gospel continues with the call and the challenge. Now, our trust should be the basis to let go of the worldly chains that bind us as did Andrew and Peter and follow the way of Jesus. Wow, that’s a tall order as I look around at the “things” that surround me and that I hold dear. That’s trust in its finest display. In this day, perhaps it is not necessary to walk away from our livelihood to follow. Yet we can perform that livelihood in ways that indicate our beliefs. It CAN be evident in our everyday interactions that we are followers of Christ, our hope and salvation.
I recently attended mass at Old St. Mary’s in Chicago. The priest offered us all a contemporary challenge and question. Referring to the new rage on TV, he spoke of the “Deal” that God offered us, the gifts that were ours to take; we just have to say we take them with our hearts and soul; we just have to truly believe and act like we believe. Simply put . . . Deal or no Deal?
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