Saturday, November 30, 2019


In the Office of Readings for S. Andrew’s Day, S. John Chrysostom reminds us that 

‘after Andrew had stayed with Jesus and had learned much from him, he did not keep this treasure to himself, but hastened to share it with his brother [Peter]. Notice what Andrew said to him: We have found the Messiah, that is to say, the Christ. Notice how his words reveal what he has learned in so short a time. They show the power of the master who has convinced them of this truth . . .’ 

‘Jesus’, as you would expect, is the most mentioned name in the New Testament; it occurs 930 times. The next most mentioned name is ‘Peter’ - 155 times. The name ‘Andrew’, however, is mentioned only 13 times, and mostly just in passing. Yet he is the very first of the disciples called by Jesus, and he responds to that call. He then brings Peter - the future chief apostle - to Jesus. In John 6 he brings a little boy with a modest lunch to Jesus, who takes it and feeds the five thousand. In John 12 (with Philip), he brings a group of Greeks to Jesus. 

On S. Andrew’s Day, 1979 (40 years ago today!) in Ballarat Cathedral, I was made a deacon in the Church of God by the Rt Rev’d John Hazlewood who by then had been Bishop of Ballarat a little over four years. Father Austin Day, Rector of Christ Church St Laurence, Sydney, conducted the retreat and preached the ordination sermon, emphasising the importance of being like S. Andrew in responding to Jesus and then bringing other people to him. This morning I offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in thanksgiving to the Lord for his love, his faithfulness, his forgiveness, and his blessing during the good times as well as during the hard times since then. I thanked him for my family, for the parishes and people I have tried to serve, and for so many wonderful colleagues who have helped to sustain me down through the years.  

The photo above is of Bishop John giving me a New Testament (the one I still use when visiting the sick and housebound). Beneath his signature facing the title page he wrote '2 Corinthians 1:7', a verse of S. Paul that - 40 years later - I still regard as a little gift of encouragement from Bishop John (may he rest in peace): 

‘Our hope for you is unshaken; 
for we know that as you share in our sufferings, 
you will also share in our comfort.’ 

Below is the Ballarat Courier article covering the ordination. You’ll need to click on it if you want to read the article and make out the faces in the photograph. On the far right is Archdeacon Graham Walden (later to become Assistant Bishop of the Diocese, and then Bishop of The Murray) who presented the candidates for ordination. Bishop John Hazlewood is in the centre. Between him and me is Father Austin Day.


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