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.
Today’s Gospel gives Luke’s account of Jesus choosing the twelve Apostles, and the beginning of his great discourse of Jesus, the “Sermon on the Plain”, distinct from Matthew’s famous “Sermon on the Mount”. The imagery and symbols used by Luke & Matthew are different because the Gospel stories they told were for different audiences of early believers. But rather than talk a lot about those differences (maybe another time!), I’d like to focus on Jesus’ actions at the very beginning of today’s reading.
Note that Jesus spends the whole night in prayer, and then, He makes an important choice – He chooses the ones who will carry the light of faith on, after He has completed His earthly journey. Jesus knew from the beginning what He was going to be called to do – He was to share His Father’s love and to teach His disciples to love with the same unselfish abandon that His Father (and He) did. Then, Jesus was going to lay down His life in sacrifice. Jesus knew that it would take strong leadership to keep “the Way” going after His crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus wanted to make sure that He was totally in line with His Father’s plan for all of that.
The call to each of us is to remember that God is always there for us, too, for when we have to make difficult or important decisions in our lives. It doesn’t mean that God will make those choices for us. No, but He will be there with us and through His Holy Spirit, God will remind us of His continual presence with us and interest in what is important to us.
I trusted in that myself not long ago, when I was faced with an important decision about my other full-time job (other than being a Deacon, that is). Linda and I discussed it, and we both prayed that God would give me the wisdom to make the decision that was the one He wanted me to make. It’s not like a bright light came on to show me that I was making the right choice (that would have been amazing). No, it was just knowing in my heart that I had done the best I could to make the right decision. My time of praying is definitely not over – I pray every day that I do what God wants me to do, in my working life and in all my encounters each day. That is what all of us are called to do, and when we do that, we can leave the results up to that same loving God who wants the best for every one of us, His beloved, beloved children!
Action for the Day:
If you don’t have any big, difficult decisions at hand, ask God to bless all who come before Him today with those kinds of situations, that He may bless those offering those intentions with wisdom and peace. And, if you do have such a decision for you, offer it up to our loving Father. I’ll pray too that He blesses you in that decision and continues to live in your life always!
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