Have you ever felt like you were the odd one out? Like you were left to live in the shadows even though the spotlight could have easily been yours?
I think we can all relate to such a feeling. Perhaps, it was something at work that you should have received more credit for or it was recognition that should have been yours in your family for something that you did. Similar to everything else in our faith, we have concrete realities and people that we can look to in times of disappointment or discouragement.
Enter, St. Andrew.
Today’s feast gives reference to one of the first followers of Jesus. St. John’s Gospel accounts for the fact that Andrew was formerly a follower of John the Baptist. One day, Jesus walked by John the Baptist, Andrew and one of John’s other disciples. As Christ walked by John the Baptist proclaimed: “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36).
Immediately, Andrew and the other follower of John stood up and followed Jesus on the road. We then quickly hear that Andrew went and found his brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). Andrew brought his brother to Christ and Jesus changed his name to Peter.
Andrew instantly believes in the words of John the Baptist and in the sight of Christ before him. He knows, right away, that this is the Chosen One, and he follows him. Without the courage and faith of Andrew, Peter would not have been the first pope. Jesus singles him out as the leader even though Andrew followed him first.
Even more so, the inner circle of Jesus for several miracles and key moments during his ministry consists of Peter, James and John. When Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead, these are the only three invited into the house with him (Mark 5:37). When Jesus climbs the mountain at the Transfiguration, these are the only apostles with him as well (Matthew 17:1). Finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane he only takes Peter, James and John (Matthew 26:37).
Andrew was, in some ways, left out even though he brought Peter to Jesus. And yet, we never hear bickering from St. Andrew. He is alright out of the spotlight.
I can see the personality of Andrew in several people in my life. Parents that I know who are heroes to their kids, but never take the credit. Colleagues at work who are always willing to sacrifice for others and not worry about receiving credit. St. Andrew was radically altered by the encounter he had with Jesus and that made him realize that everyone has an important role to play on Jesus’ team.
That comes with trusting that we are infinitely valued by our God. any feelings of disappointment in our lives does not come from him not accepting us. It comes from our inability to see ourselves as Christ sees us.
The way of St. Andrew is the way of humility and abandonment. It comes with knowing that when we set out to accomplish what God has asked of us, we do not need to worry about the accolades. The only thing that mattered for Andrew was being with Christ.
On his feast day, let us be fascinated with following Jesus and be less concerned with the spotlight. Doing so will enable us to become the saints that God is calling us to be.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.