The Gospel according to Luke (6:12-19)
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.
Opening Prayer: Father God, I ask You to help me to pray more. Help me to have a heart for those in need, especially those who have no one to pray for them. May I have Your heart of love and kindness and may this time of reflecting on Your Word help me to love more like You do. Amen.
In today’s Gospel, Luke introduces the Twelve Apostles by name. They were the ones that were set apart to be the bearers of Jesus’ message (for “one who is sent” is what the word “apostle” means). It is important to recognize that this was so important at the start, as Jesus knew that He would have to rely on others to spread His message after He finished the work that His Father had given Him to do.
The Apostles were not perfect by any means. The Gospels are full of the stories of how they argued amongst themselves, and how they jockeyed for position, wanting to be the greatest among the group. One of them, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Jesus to the death that He came to offer on our behalf. And, the one that Jesus chose as the “rock” of His Church, Peter, denied even knowing Him when questioned. It makes one wonder why Jesus didn’t get to a point where He said, “you know, maybe you twelve aren’t the right ones. I’m going to request a ‘do over’, and pick twelve ‘better’ Apostles.”
Of course, He didn’t do that. One reason for that is that He knew that He had to rely on fallible human beings with all their faults, because we need to know that even those Jesus chose weren’t made immediately perfect. They had to work at their lives as His servants and His Apostles. They failed, but the key is that they never gave up, and kept trying. That’s the best lesson we can take from this Gospel. God called Peter, James, John and the rest to be Apostles, and He gave them the ability to do the work through His Holy Spirit, but He did not take away the faults that they had. He gave them the ability to overcome those faults and to act as true vessels of His Spirit and bearers of His message.
All of us are called to bear Jesus’ message to our communities. It is the same message that the Twelve initially shared, but the way we share it is quite different from the way they did. We are to recognize our faults, and to ask God to help us to overcome them to be the best message bearers we can be. The way we share the message is by the way we live, so we ask God now to help us to love like He does, even with our human limitations. And when we fail to love like God does, we ask Him to pick us up, and help us to try to love like Him again tomorrow, and the day after that. May God help us to never give up, but to try each day a little better to “live the Gospel by the way we live our lives.”
Closing Prayer: Jesus, help me to be Your messenger and Your apostle in the world today. Help me to love like You, to forgive like You, and to share that love with whomever in my community that needs that from me the most. Amen.
Action for the Day: Take some time today in quiet reflection, and ask God to help you to share His message with someone you meet today.