OCTOBER 28. Ord Time B. Wk 30. Thu. Lk 6. 12-16
Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’: Simon whom he called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor.
We need to understand the importance of the event detailed in today’s reading in that Christ is about to establish the means by which his Kingdom is to be governed and spread throughout the world. He clearly understood this in that we are told he spent the whole night in prayer to God the Father.
We are also told he “Went into the hills to pray” indicating he withdrew from all forms of distraction so nothing would disturb his time with the Father. While this can be a difficult thing to do for most Christians it is a valuable lesson when we have to deal with major issues. Sadly, a common situation when faced with difficulties is we withdraw from prayer; - the exact opposite of what Jesus is teaching us here.
What a different world we would live in if our political and community leaders gave some serious to time to prayer before they made major decisions? Sadly, what happens instead is they depend solely on human “wisdom”; - and the world suffers enormously as a result; - especially the poor and marginalised.
It is interesting to note the Son of God felt a need to spend so long in prayer, but what it indicates is he is seeking guidance from the Father as to who should be chosen. This highlights the reality of Christ’s humanity in that he felt a need to spend the night on his knees seeking assistance from the Father and the Holy Spirit; - just as Christians do every day when we give time to liturgy and prayer.
These men were to be sent, first of all to the children of Israel, and eventually to all peoples, initially via St. Paul who wrote “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes; - first to the Jew, and then to the Gentile.”
The Apostles were to be given a share in Christ’s powers so they might make disciples of all nations via preaching, and the sacraments. They would also have to govern Christ’s earthly Kingdom, with divine assistance and grace; - a critically important mission that continues to the present day.
One of the most interesting aspects to the selection of the founding Apostles is the fact most of them were poor and had little education, with several being simple fishermen who were inspired to leave everything. What this demonstrates though, in contrast, is the centrality of their being guided and influenced by the Holy Spirit; - with the aid of prayer and sacrament.
This is also a reminder the Church; - while an earthly organisation, with earthly “managers”; - is fundamentally a spiritual establishment guided by the creator of the Universe; - a point easily overlooked due to the weaknesses and failings of the successors of the Apostles, which are easily seen; - but these only serve to demonstrate the reality of the divine input.
A key lesson from this reading is the importance of prayer, in order to seek divine guidance!
Gospel Acclamation cf.Te Deum
You are God: we praise you. You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
the glorious company of apostles praise you.
First reading Ephesians 2:19-22 ·
In Christ you are no longer aliens, but citizens like us
You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.