Daily Reading for November 30 • St. Andrew the Apostle
Someone may wonder: At the Lord’s beckoning, what or how much did these two fishermen, who scarcely had anything, leave behind? On this, my beloved, we should attend to one’s intention rather than one’s wealth. That person has left behind a lot who keeps nothing for himself, who, though he has little, gives up everything. We tend to be attached to those things we own, and those things we scarcely own, we carefully hold on to. Therefore Peter and Andrew left much behind when they left behind covetousness and the very desire to own. That person has left much behind who renounces with the thing owned the very coveting of that thing. Therefore those poor who followed Jesus left behind just as much as those less poor who did not follow him but were able to covet. So when you notice that some have left a great deal behind, you need not say to yourself, I want to imitate those who disdain this world, but sorry, I have nothing to leave behind. You will leave much behind, my brothers, if you renounce earthly desires. External things, however small they may be, are sufficient for the Lord, since he looks at the heart and not at our material goods. Nor does he judge by how much is involved in our sacrifice but from how much it is made. For if we judge by external goods, our holy merchants traded in their nets and vessels for the perpetual life of the angels.
From Forty Gospel Homilies 5.2 of Gregory the Great, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament Ia, Matthew 1-13, edited by Manlio Simonetti and Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001).