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.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
On the last day of November, unless it falls on Sunday, we observe the feast of the Apostle Andrew. With his brother Saint Peter, he is the first of the apostles. In fact, as Saint John tells the story, Andrew met Jesus first and immediately went to get his brother and bring him to the Lord. Because of that singular event, we celebrate his feast day today; he ushers in the new Year of the Lord.
Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans describes Andrew's vocation; he confessed with his mouth and believed in his heart that, "We have found the Messiah."
Almost daily in the VA hospital I meet Catholic Veterans who were not introduced to the Lord by their ostensibly Catholic parents. Nor do the young men express any disappointment in that. They bear the name of Catholic. Some insist upon it. But they have neither attended a church nor felt any grief about their loss since they were children.
Some might remember vague ideas about "God raised him from the dead," but they might as well remember that Julius Caesar died on the Ides of March, or Alexander's horse was named Bucephalus. Ancient trivia does not guide them in the hard choices they must make.
I remarked recently, in this blog, about the ancient Christians who were not set apart from the Lord by six degrees of separation. They knew the Nazarene's still-living apostles and disciples.
But the Sacraments still give us that immediate knowledge of the Lord. In Baptism, the Eucharist, Penance and the other four sacrament we meet Jesus face to face, just as surely as Saint Peter did when Andrew brought him to Jesus.
Failing to do this, there is hell to pay.