|The gravel pit in the|
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?
Our Christian religion begins with the principle of revelation. We cannot know the truth unless it is revealed to us. Introspection will never discover that Jesus was born in Bethlehem or died outside of Jerusalem. We need a Redeemer both to affect our salvation and to announce it. Then we need apostles to receive the good news, and a Church to announce it to all the nations. The apostles serve as the essential link between Jesus and his Church. Without their fidelity – which has been challenged in every age – we would not know the Truth and we could not be saved.
Because their fidelity is so often challenged the Church celebrates the Apostles with all the more energy. Only last year I read a book by the ever-popular Harvey Cox who boasted of a personal insight which had remained hidden from all the ages, until he discovered it. Now he can tell us why the Church never got it right for the past twenty centuries!
In the above passage from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the Apostle reminds us of the important role the Church plays in Salvation. We cannot hear the good news unless someone announces it to us. Secondarily, we are reminded of the importance of the apostle’s integrity. If the messenger is not blessed, it’s pretty hard to take the message seriously. Such a messenger would be like those TV actors who want to sell us get-rich-quick schemes. If they’re so successful, why are they appearing in late-night, low-budget ads?
I remember one fellow who aspired to be a gospel singer, but his wife was leaving him because of his marijuana addiction. What’s wrong with this picture?
This feast of Saint Andrew reminds us to thank God for our faithful apostolic tradition, and to pray that God will keep us faithful within this tradition.