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Chair Folding Ministry

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

First Reading: Romans 10:9-18

Brothers and sisters:
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.
The Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
There is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

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?
As it is written,
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!
But not everyone has heeded the good news;
for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?
Thus faith comes from what is heard,
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
But I ask, did they not hear?
Certainly they did; for

Their voice has gone forth to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (10) The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.

Gospel: Matthew 4:18-22

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.

NAB

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I was raised in the ministry of chair folding. Saint Andrew was an expert in this ministry.

When I was young, my parents led the prayer group at church. We were often at our parish setting up chairs and executing the mundane tasks needed to make the ministries at our church happen. These are the jobs in the ministry of chair folding. My father coined the phrase. It is the ministry of the unseen—it does not involve being noticed, heard, or acclaimed and instead involves setting up and taking down chairs, decorating sanctuaries, organizing logistics, doing paperwork, and loving one’s neighbor in the simplest of ways. It is the hard and humble ministry of the unnoticed.

Today’s feast celebrates a man who knew what it was like to go unnoticed.

Throughout his life, Saint Andrew played second fiddle to his dynamic and well-known brother Simon Peter. Peter was an incredible teacher. He was the first Pope. He resurrected Tabitha. Everyone remembers Peter, few remember Andrew—he is often only referred to as Peter’s brother. However, without Andrew, there is no way to know who would have introduced Peter to Jesus. (Jonh 1:40) While Peter was busy using his gifts in a public way, Andrew was off to the side, humbly under the radar, talking to people, folding chairs, wrapping microphone cables, washing dishes, asking about people’s lives, stuffing name tags, making ministry happen. He did whatever needed to be done to help people come to know the Messiah.

Andrew was open-hearted, always humbly loving those around him. He was the one who knew about the boy’s lunch in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. (John 6:8) He was the one Philip deferred to when the Greeks wanted to meet Jesus (John 12:21) because he knew how to bring people to Christ. His heart was fixed on it. Nothing else mattered to him. He shows us how to be the one who is not esteemed or acclaimed with dazzling humility and astonishing grace.

If you feel as though you are e’er the woman playing second fiddle, constantly unnoticed, consistently unappreciated, today is your day, because today is Saint Andrew’s day. How beautiful are the feet of those who cook the food, sew prayer blankets, iron purificators, and fill coffee pots. The ministry of chair folding brings the good news to many, indeed.

Thank a “Saint Andrew” figure in your life today—someone in your family, in your parish, in your workplace—for their humble heart of service in bringing people to know Jesus.

Emily Wilson-Hussem planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to women in search of their true identity, and she loves every second of it. She is the author of I Choose the Sky. You can find out more about her here.

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