Words of Spirit and Life

Plaque with the Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, ca. 1160–80 British, Champlevé enamel on gilded copper; 3 7/16 × 4 15/16 × 1/8 in. (8.7 × 12.5 × 0.3 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 2013 (2013.508) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/479797

Feast of Saint Andrew

Romans 10:9-18; Matthew 4:18-22 

Brothers and sisters: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

Not by our own strength alone can one confess the risen Christ, for no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). 

In an age of mass media and globalization, Christ is drowned out in the cacophonous marketplace of ideas. Yet the lone voice of Isaiah proclaims:

In days to come,
The mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it.

Isaiah 2:2

The mountain is Christ, write St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great.1 The mountain that was plunged into the depths of hell and emerged victorious over sin and death—to this summit all nations and peoples aspire. 

An indistinct desire for the good has proliferated in multifarious meandering paths, religions  and philosophies from the dawn of conscious wonder. Christ, the Light of the world and desire of all nations, appeared without pomp or fanfare in swaddling clothes, yet drew the adoration of both shepherds and wise men from the East. Jews and Gentiles knelt before the vulnerable Divine Infant in silent awe. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him (Romans 10:12).

The ocean of the world teemed with fish of all colors, shapes and sizes made for the ocean of infinite love and mercy beyond death and destruction. 

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15a) 

The Word made flesh called ordinary fishermen to be his mouthpiece: Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Romans 10:18; Psalm 19:4-5). 

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). St. Andrew, whom we celebrate today, and his companions dropped their nets and perishable bait to cast the words of eternal life into the ocean of tears.

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life (Psalm response from John 6:63).


Reference

1 St. Augustine, Sermon 62A.3 and St. Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies 33.

One Reply to “Words of Spirit and Life”

  1. Dear GMC, the words of the psalm response drew me into your reflection and kept me caught–like fish on a bait, struggling to be free, but caught nonetheless. Your reflection makes me wonder, too, why I struggle to accept the Spirit and Life offered to me so freely by Christ. As always, thank you for inspiring the conscious Wonder in all of us.

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