Content Warning: Theological Discourse.

He was the brother of St Peter. He was martyred on the X shaped cross that now bears his name, that cross which is a fixture in many a “kink dungeon”.

30 November is the day The Church remembers, celebrates, his martyrdom at The Holy Mass. In Bob Fosse’s film, All That Jazz, the character modeled on Lenny Bruce (played by Cliff Gorman) quips, “To Catholics, death is a promotion, man.” Kind of a macabre thought, but we deal with the paradox of “losing” one’s life to “find” it, as we grow as Christians.

Jesus talks about walking away from family, friends, our “old”lives. In the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah chooses Elisha as his successor, while Elisha is out ploughing a field with 12 yoke of oxen. Elisha slaughters the oxen and boils the flesh in a dramatic gesture of leaving his old life. All St Andrew had to do was give up casting his net for fish and become a “fisher of men”(meaning human beings).

The first season of the Christian year, Advent, began yesterday.. We commemorate the season with a wreath and four candles, three violet, one rose coloured. We sing lovely hymns and chants Creator Alma Siderum, O Come O Come Emmanuel, to name two.

The “Social Justice” advocates, informed by so-called “Liberation” theology put an emphasis on righting the wrongs perpetrated upon the weak and politically powerless. There is a collectivist emphasis to this perspective of Jesus’s message of Redemption and Salvation., It suggests we can ignore our inner and very individual rebellions against God, (our tendency to sin).

The error is that somehow, “good” social policy can get us off the hook personally. Seeking the Kingdom of God takes a back seat to cleaning up this earthly kingdom, the kingdom that is ultimately Satan’s.

Dying to our selfishness and narcissism is neither easy nor fun. We have many diversions and distractions to keep us entertained. We can rationalize horrific behavior that keeps our self-centeredness in place. But our self-centeredness is what keeps us enthroned, as the major deity in our personal universe, not as humble servants in God’s.