Called to Be Saved: The Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

God’s Call to Israel: The two readings today speak together in a rich interweaving of theology, the early history of Christianity, and salvation. Paul starts us off in the tenth chapter of his master work letter to the Christian community in Rome. He lays out the necessary conditions for salvation: “If you confess
with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved.”
(Romans 10:8-9)
But who is Paul speaking to? These middle chapters (9, 10 and 11) of his letter to the Romans
are specifically addressed to the Jewish community that Paul loved so well. Paul was in anguish
that so few of his fellow Jews had accepted Christ. Paul did not see Jesus as the founder of a
new religion but rather as the fulfillment of Judaism, “…and from them, according to the flesh,
comes the Messiah…”
(Romans 9:5)
We see God’s call to Israel echoed in the Gospel reading from Matthew. Coming out from His
forty days in the wilderness Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee when he makes His first call to
fishermen, the brothers Simon and Andrew. “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Mt: 4:19)

Faith versus Works

Simon and Andrew are of course, Jews. However, it is interesting that although we hear the
Jewish name Simon (later changed to Peter) we only hear the Greek version of his brother’s
name – Andrew. No Hebrew name is mentioned for Andrew. It just so happens that today we
celebrate the feast day of St. Andrew the apostle. In the apostolic tradition, Andrew is
nicknamed ‘The First-Called.’ In this are the early signs that Jesus’s call is to all nations, not just
In Romans, Paul works through how it is that the Gentiles, rather than Israel, are the first to
respond in numbers to Jesus’s message. As Paul sees it “Gentiles, who did not strive for
righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith.”
(Romans 9:30). But the
Jews relied solely on the law. “. they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were
based on works.”
(Romans 9:32)
Matthew’s Gospel emphasizes this aspect of salvation. Jesus does not present Simon and
Andrew with a book of laws or a theological treatise. He tells them to “follow ME.” Walking in
imitation of Jesus Christ is our path to eternal life. Furthermore, Jesus lets His first apostles
know they are not being chosen based on their own merits – “I will make you fishers of men.” It
is God who is doing the making.

Our Path to Salvation

Paul tells us that to be saved we must believe with our hearts and confess with our lips. What
we are to believe with faith in our hearts is that Christ’s sacrifice won for all of us salvation
which is the love and grace of God. If we have this faith in our hearts, then the only possible
response is to profess it with our lips and our works “Everyone who calls on the name of the
Lord shall be saved.”
(Romans 9:13)

[Readings: Rom 10:9-18; Mt 4:18-22]

John and Kathy Schultz

Kathy and John have been married for 38 years. We have four children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and two adorable grandchildren. We are life-long Catholics, originally from the Northeast, now residing in North Carolina. We are both involved in a number of ministries in our local Raleigh parish.

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