January 20, 2017
(St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr and St. Sebastian, Martyr)
. . . this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest. Heb_8:6-13
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: Mk_3:13-19
It’s interesting how the events of our childhood have the ability to either cripple us for life or be used as stepping-stones for greatness.
Today’s Gospel, describing the selection of the Twelve Apostles by Jesus, brought me back to my first-decade, and the power hierarchy that existed even as youngsters, because it was always the older kids or the popular kids who picked sides for that playground football game.
And it was always the smaller ones, the studious ones, or the quiet ones who got left out.
As Jesus sat there picking Apostles, I could just see little George and Theresa jumping up and down, with their hands raised, yelling, “Pick me. Pick me!” And in the end, we never saw the Apostle George nor the Apostle Theresa.
And so life goes . . .
But then, on the other hand, maybe it was Thaddeus who was sitting there with his head buried in his hands, hoping that Jesus would NOT pick him. Because, Thaddeus didn’t want to have anything to do with driving out demons. And He wasn’t any good at preaching either.
And yet, 2000-years later, we venerate the Apostle, St. Jude or Thaddeus, as the saint of hope, the saint of impossible causes, the namesake of a world-renowned children’s hospital, and the writer of a New Testament Epistle . . .
While with equal, if not greater veneration, we recognize both St. George the dragon slayer and more St. Theresa’s than we can shake a stick at.
You see, “The Twelve” were selected as special, with respect to the Twelve Tribes of Israel. And with time, even more special were “The Three,” Peter, James and John. But by the time Jesus had finished His earthly ministry, and consecrated God’s New Covenant in the signature of His own Blood, we learn that there’s a new Selection Process.
A process that uses the word “Everyone!”
“Everyone shall know me,
from the least to the greatest.”
Every George and every Theresa. Every Edward and every Donna. Every Cy and every Claire. Every person whom the Holy Spirit prompts to jump up and down and declare “Pick me, Pick me,” WILL be picked.
And every shy one who wonders if they’ll ever be good enough, will also be selected . . .
Because there are NO restrictions on who can Love God.
And there are NO boundaries to how extreme that Love can be.
Maybe our world seems obsessed with competition; with building up pride by knocking everyone else down . . .
But Praise be to God, that’s not how Heaven works.
And Praise be to God, that every time we pass His football, that one called Love, to someone on the sidelines, to someone on the other team, to someone in the trenches of life, there’s one more soul saved for eternity, as we say,
“Thank you Jesus for picking me!”
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