November 30, 2011 - Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

Today's Readings

“How can anyone believe the Gospel unless they have heard it? How can anyone hear it unless someone preaches it to them? How can anyone preach unless they have been sent?” The first and second questions are self-evidently true. No one can believe in the Gospel if they never heard it, and no one can hear something which has not been preached, whether aloud or in writing or communicated in some way.

We must agree with the first two questions, but the third question is not so clear for us modern people. “How can someone preach unless they have been sent?” "Well, they could go on their own initiative", we think. Does a person really have to be sent in order to preach? Perhaps someone has an education, a command of the English language, and an inbox full of funny stories. What prevents them from preaching the Gospel? Nothing prevents them, but neither does anything impel them.

Preaching is not a hobby. Preaching cannot merely occupy an occasional weekend. Preaching is a charism of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is a supernatural vocation. Preaching must become a man’s whole life. The apostles show us what is involved in preaching: suffering many hardships and privations, being insulted and imprisoned, and, finally, martyrdom. A preacher who does not want to be a martyr is not a witness for the faith, rather, they are a scandal. No one can live the life of a preacher without a supernatural vocation. St. Andrew could never have been a preacher, could never have gone out to all the world, could never have died upon a cross, had he not been sent, were he not continually sent by the Holy Spirit.

St. Andrew was called by Christ, and, when he had come to Christ, he was sent forth from him to preach. We too must go to Christ, who calls us, and then go forth, not to wherever we desire or plan to go, to do whatever we feel like doing, but go forth sent by Christ, impelled by the Holy Spirit. Some will be sent to preach. Others will be sent to other tasks. Each person has their own vocation, their own mission from God. Together, guided by the Holy Spirit, we will help Christ establish the Kingdom of God.