So, what is my mission, overall . . . and for today?

In the first reading, Paul talks about the justice system. In this reading, Paul says it’s ridiculous to seek justice in civil court when God’s law is what really matters.  Our culture seems full of people who feel they have been treated unfairly and want to go on daytime television to seek justice. Of course we all want justice, but it doesn’t always happen here. And sometimes you just have to let some stuff go. There’s not always justice here, and the judgment of men isn’t always right, but the real judgment is God’s judgment and the true law is God’s law.  Those who cheat their neighbors will surely pay a bigger price eventually, but taking your neighbor to court over a hundred dollars, or suing your children for damages, or your ex-boyfriend for a “loan” doesn’t seem like a charitable act or a good use of time, despite the fact that it is sometimes quite entertaining.

In the Gospel, we see that Luke has just finished recounting five conflicts the religious leaders had with Jesus. They got upset with Jesus over the observance of the Sabbath, fasting, the company He kept, and claiming authority to forgive sins. At the end of round five, the religious leaders “became frenzied and began asking one another what could be done to Jesus”.

Natural responses to a barrage of complaints and accusations include disturbance, fear, resentment, and withdrawal. Instead, Jesus responded by “spending the night in communion with God”, selecting the twelve apostles, and healing the sick. So, Luke’s gospel highlights the centrality of prayer in the life and mission of Jesus. His decisions and choices emerge from lengthy periods of communion with the one He calls ‘Abba’. Let’s pray for the grace to respond to a barrage of conflicts in the same way Jesus did: by not being perturbed but remaining calm so that we “will be able to pray” . When we’re going through the agony in the garden, we must take a long time to pray. We should also select others to support us in prayer, even if this exposes us to further rejection. Finally, we should place our own hurts in God’s hands and, although wounded, reach out to heal others.

In the same Gospel, Jesus chooses twelve very ordinary people, and entrusts to them the task of making his values known to the world. Each of us has a mission to play in life which is something no one else can do. That was also true of the apostles. What can we learn from today’s gospel, which is about the mission of the twelve apostles? First, we notice that the future apostles were with Christ in the crowd when He was selecting them. If we want to realize or stay on course with our mission, we need to stay close to Christ and keep Him close in our heart and our prayer-life.

Second, Christ called the apostles forth individually. He didn’t stand in the crowd, read off the benefits of being an apostle and then ask for volunteers. Each apostle was called forth personally and chosen by Christ, just as we are for our respective, unique missions. We have been called forth.

Third, Christ then demonstrated, before the apostles and the large crowd assembled, how He could help others. He is our role model for our mission in life. We can appeal to Him for help and for guidance.

Fourth, Christ demonstrated to the people that we are to be people of prayer, not just action. We are to pray first before we act in His name. It was after Christ spent the night in prayer that He called forth His apostles. Christ appeals to the Father on our behalf, also. It is an awesome thing to think about!

So, what is my mission, overall . . . and for today?


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