Reflections today

According to the Synoptics, Andrew is one of the first four to be called by the Lord; he is the brother of Simon Peter. Like Simon, he was a fisherman. The Gospel of John indicates that he was first a disciple of John the Baptist, the Protokletos, the “first called” (Jn 1:35-51). After John the Baptist introduces him and another disciple to Jesus, he leaves the Baptist and follows Jesus. Struck by what he initially experienced as a disciple of Jesus, he brings his brother Simon to Jesus.

Today’s Gospel reading presents Andrew and his brother Simon as first to be called by Jesus, as they fish in the Sea of Galilee. In the list of the Twelve, Andrew’s name is often put on the fourth place, that is, next to that of Peter, James, and John (Mk 3:18; Acts 1:13). In some instances, his name also appears with that of Philip (Jn 6:1-9; 12:20-22).

Literally, Andrew means “manly.” During the three-year ministry of Jesus, this apostle proves himself to be such: a silent disciple when compared to his brother Simon Peter, but a determined one. He has his own way of relating with Jesus. In the story of the multiplication of the bread, while Philip is explaining to Jesus about the great cost of feeding the crowd, Andrew speaks to Jesus about the boy who has five barley loaves and two fish (Jn 6:1-10).

The traditions about Andrew are various. Like his brother Peter who was crucified on the Vatican Hill in Rome “upside down,” a later tradition tells of Andrew’s death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion. At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus. In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as “St. Andrew’s cross.”


As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

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