The Gospel according to Luke (6:12-16)
Jesus went up 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.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, you showed us how a consistent and meaningful prayer life with the Father connects us to a grace we need not just to follow you but to discern your will. May we never fall to the temptation to answer our call and follow your will without staying close to you in prayer and supplication.
Encountering Christ: I can remember many times, as a young child, being one of the last to be picked for sports teams, academic projects, etc. It is a horrible feeling standing alone feeling so inadequate and lonely. It is an experience, like many, that had both negative and positive effects.
In today’s gospel Jesus, after spending a night in prayer chooses twelve of his disciples to be a part of his inner circle as apostles. So, obviously not all were chosen. This is not true if you consider that all are chosen, just not for the same mission.
There is so much scripture that helps us to understand and appreciate our own calling. In chapter 12 of 1Corinthians we hear two very compelling explanations of the variety of gifts that are meant to contribute, edify, and lift up the body of Christ. The Spirit gives gifts to everyone for their and everyone’s benefit. And what would the body be if it were missing an ear or an eye? Each has its unique place and purpose yet all united in body of Christ to fulfill his mission of transforming the world. Not with an army that conquers but with an invitation to recognize and respond to a call from the one who chose each and every one of us.
But let us not overlook how today’s reading begins. Jesus spent the night in prayer before he chose his twelve apostles. What was he praying for? To choose the most qualified, most sincere, most influential. Or, for the grace and strength they would need to be worthy heralds and teachers? Probably this and much more but the point is that he spent time with the Father so that his decisions and actions would glorify the Father and further his mission of conversion.
There is something here that should provide us all with a tremendous amount of confidence and assurance that we will never be left on the sidelines because we are not picked or chosen. God chose you and me from the beginning of time. He knew us before we were formed in the womb. We did not choose Him, He chose us. He will NEVER leave us. He will ALWAYS be faithful even when we are not.
So, with this assurance of God’s fidelity and the generosity of the Spirit, we are called and equipped to contribute in a way, place, and time that no one else can. One of Saint Mother Teresa’s quotes seems most appropriate to emphasize our unique contributions, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.”
May we all embrace our call, make the best use of our gifts, and return the gift of our lives to Our Father, to His Church, and to all who reside in the perimeter of the grace God gives us every day.
Closing Prayer: God Our Father, instead of being the pursued you are the pursuer. Help us to recognize and accept your gracious gift of a life full of grace. May we realize that we are called to surrender so you may embrace us in your loving arms, and we can feel your heartbeat and listen to you.
Action for the Day: Consider and contemplate the significance of your unique call and how you can and do make a difference. Your drop in the ocean has meaning that transcends this world. We are all connected, both here and there, all one Body in Christ.