The Holy Gospel according to Mark (3:13-19)
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
Reflection: In today’s Gospel from Mark, we hear Jesus calling the 12 apostles. This is actually the 2nd time Jesus called some of the apostles. In Mark chapter 1 Jesus calls his first apostles, calling Simon, Andrew, and John. After calling them to follow him, he told them he would make them “fishers of men.” In today’s Gospel, Jesus called the 12 that he wanted to follow him, up the mountain. This mountain top experience was a reminder to them of Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel. In calling the 12 apostles, Jesus gives three of the apostle’s new names. Simon, is now named Peter, James, and his brother John, are called “sons of thunder.” Their renaming indicates their transformation of faith. We know that in the Scriptures, Peter, James, and John accompanied and were present at key moments in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus gave the 12 apostles a mission, specifically to preach and drive out demons. Just as the apostles were called by Jesus and given a mission, we are also called and given a mission. We also received new names either at our baptism or our confirmation. Hopefully this renaming indicated a transformation of our faith. By virtue of our baptism and confirmation, we are given the grace we need to be apostles, to preach with our words and deeds, to drive away our sinful demons that try to keep us from fulfilling our mission. Our mission is to be fishers of men and women and bring them to Christ. In Jesus’ time, many resisted or ignored his call to discipleship. The same is true today. Jesus is still just a curiosity for many. But Jesus can be so much more for us. He can be a daily presence in our lives, healing us and lifting us when we are down. Jesus can fill our hearts with joy and give us a purpose. Jesus can become our Lord and Savior. We are to be like Jesus, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, and loving others as Christ loves them. Today is also the optional memorial for St. Sebastian, who was a captain in the Roman army. He was also a Christian, probably fulfilling his mission of living as a Christian. For this, he was martyred by the emperor Diocletian.
Action of the day: Today, may we pray for the grace to be disciples of Christ, to be like Christ to others, and to bring others to Christ.