- Mk 3:13-19
- The Mission of the Twelve
It is said that: Noah was a drunkard; Jacob was a liar; Leah was ugly; Abraham was too old; Isaac was a daydreamer; Joseph was abused; Gideon was afraid; Elijah was suicidal; John was an escapist; Job was bankrupt; Jeremiah was a crybaby; the disciples fell asleep while praying; Peter denied his Master and Lazarus was dead! If we feel like God cannot use us, just remember these people.
In today’s gospel Jesus calls ordinary, useless and unqualified men to be His disciples. But Jesus does three things when He calls these Twelve as His apostles:
First, He went up on the mountain. Mountain represents the preferred place of prayer for Jesus, as it was for Moses and the prophets of the Old Testament. Intense prayer and the Father’s will above all else go before His choice of the Twelve. It is because this is a critical choice upon which the future of the Church rests. He selects not those who are very easy to work with but only those the Father wants. He sets us an example on what to do. Do we do what Christ does, He prays and above all else God’s will, before making important decisions in our lives?
Second, He appointed the Twelve. Jesus appoints them to be with Him, to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He need the apostles, not just to help but to share His very work of teaching, leading and sanctifying. He chose them in some way that He is also dependent upon us. He chose to need us.
To be with Him as companions means to be His disciples. It is said that a disciple is one who sits at the feet of a rabbi in order to learn from Him. The disciple does not only go to the master and be with him for some hours and then go back home but he lives with him. The purpose of this being-with-the-master is that the disciple may imbibe the master’s way of life: his ways of acting, thinking, judging and even his feeling. Pope John Paul II many times reminds us that “being” must take priority over “doing.” The Pope says to Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi members (Jan. 4. 2001): “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.” And in due time, the master sends his disciple out to bring, not only his presence but also teachings and deeds.
Being sent out means being his apostle but a disciple remains a disciple even if he is being sent as an apostle because there is no graduation from discipleship to apostleship. The more one has learned of the humility and gentleness of Christ, the more effectively he brings Christ’s presence to others. It is not enough to know, love, and serve God but also to know, love and serve one’s neighbor in this life and so be happy with them and in Him in the next life for all eternity. How truly are we cooperating, as a baptized Catholics, in this work?
Third, He chose Twelve by name. We hear Christ naming the apostles. He gives them a new identity, as it were, to work together to build the Kingdom of God. Each one is defined by his vocation, mission and being responsible in some way for the good of the rest but each one is irreplaceable. No part of their life can be foreign to who they are now. Does our vocation and mission touch and perfect every aspect of our lives? What part of us has not been touched by His call?
Do others see Christ in us or are we anti-testimonies to those around us? Do we thank God for calling us to serve Him through His Church?