Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday word, 30 Nov 2007

St. Andrew, Feast (30 Nov 2007) Rm 10. 9-18; Ps 19; Mt 4. 18-22
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Welcoming the Welcomer

I have a family link with St. Andrew. Tradition remembers that Andrew preached in what we call Greece and Turkey. He was crucified at Patras, a busy, Greek harbor town for ships sailing north along the west coast of Greece and northwest across the Adriatic to Italy. Patras, the place of Andrew’s death, was the place where my father was conceived. Death and life; life out of death is the core of our faith in Jesus.

St. Paul reminded us that hearing is crucial to welcoming Jesus in his word, his word that all the apostles proclaimed first by speaking. Preaching seeks above all to introduce people to our Messiah Jesus. Because the apostles had a personal encounter with Jesus, and because Jesus changed their lives, the apostles desired to let others know about Jesus. Jesus by his Spirit would encounter those who welcomed him through preaching, namely, what is heard [which] comes through the word of Christ.

From the first scripture intended God’s Messiah, the Christ, to use the Greek word for it.
St. Paul had Isaiah in mind, and he quoted Isaiah in his Letter to the Romans, as we heard: for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us? Scripture's continual witness has been God’s desire to save us and welcome back all who welcome God’s Messiah.

Yet, people domesticated God; people thought God could not lavishly love as God does: to welcome all; to die for all in order to reunite people with God and with people. Andrew, St. John reminded us, told his brother about Jesus then brought his brother to Jesus. Peter heard his brother’s description of Jesus and was convinced enough to meet Jesus. Andrew introduced his brother to Jesus. Jesus did the rest and worked marvelously in Peter’s life.

We hear, welcome and critique preaching. It is important. Preaching only introduces us to Jesus. Jesus works marvels in us if we are willing. Jesus brings to life even what is dead within us, and makes us all a family of faith.
Flickr-image of St. Andrew by fil himself is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

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