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Called, Chosen, and Free
Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
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: Lord, here I am, I come to do your will. Send me to spread your Good News!
- Promise Kept: The preface to this Gospel states that Luke was “continuing the biblical history of God’s dealings with humanity found in the Old Testament, showing how God’s promises to Israel have been fulfilled in Jesus.” The Old Testament covenants which God, on his end, faithfully kept through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David were broken by the people over and over. In Jesus, God became man, creating a New Covenant with man that cannot be broken. “God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him” (CCC 73).
- To Himself: We read, “When day came, he called his disciples to himself … .” Jesus had spent the night in prayer to God and there discerned which men would become the chosen Twelve. He called them out of the crowd “to himself” for a mission that would include founding his Church and dying one day for the faith. He drew them close to befriend them, to teach them and to train them for their mission. Each of us has a mission uniquely given to us by Christ. The only way to accomplish it is to allow Jesus to draw us “to himself.” A disciple who remains close to Jesus will be sure to accomplish his will.
- A Traitor: Judas Iscariot will be forever known as the betrayer of Jesus Christ, but he did not begin his discipleship that way. Judas serves as a reminder to all of us that physical proximity to Our Lord is no guarantee of sanctity and salvation if our heart is divided. We may participate at Holy Mass every Sunday and holy day. We may frequent the sacraments and even spend time in Adoration of Our Lord, but where is our heart? “As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach. (CCC 1732) “The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes.” (CCC 1733).
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, choosing good and being your disciple is my desire, but I find it difficult at times. St. Paul tells us in the first reading, “Through you, Lord, the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Lord, call me, choose me, and keep me close. I want to do your will.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will do as St. Augustine advised, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
For Further Reflection: “Covenants Chart” by Dr. Scott Hahn.
Nan Balfour is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She volunteers as a writer and speaker for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic evangelization ministry that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter him so as to live in hope as pilgrims in daily life.
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