SEPTEMBER 7. Ord Time B. Wk 23. Tue. Lk 6. 12-19
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.
He then came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were also cured, and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all.
It is made clear to us today that Jesus “spent the whole night in prayer.” This would have been a very intimate period with the Father; - prior to choosing twelve apostles from a large number of his disciples; - whom he then called to him in the early hours of the morning, and named the ones he had chosen.
There is great significance in the fact he chose twelve apostles as the Old Testament was now drawing to an end where the twelve tribes of Israel represented God’s chosen people. Now he was planning to found a Church; - where the twelve apostles would represent God’s chosen people; - a new Kingdom of Israel that was foretold by the Prophets.
We can only wonder why, when he chose the apostles, he made a “mistake” in choosing Judas; - or perhaps it was not a mistake; - perhaps he was to represent the many in the Church who were sinners; - and whom Christ continued to love; - despite their sins?
Interestingly, in Luke’s gospel, the Sermon on the Mount follows immediately after the twelve were named; - which adds to the significance of the event; - where the first apostles are named; - and then the Sermon on the Mount is given; - where Christ spells out the new central teachings of his Church; - with the primary duty of the Apostles being to preach and bear witness to these “new” New Testament teachings.
And while St Luke tells us the Sermon on the Mount followed the Apostle’s appointment, today’s gospel also tells us that in addition to the new teachings being given “a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and be cured of their diseases. People tormented by unclean spirits were cured, and everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all”.
While the birth of the Church has always been recognised as being at Pentecost, there can be little doubt today’s event was certainly a precursor; - with twelve apostles chosen; - new teachings being given; - many people being cured; - and devils being cast out!
For us today we also have the added teaching, developed over the centuries, of the Mystical Body of Christ; - where the Baptised become “members” of Christs Mystical Body and one with him via the Sacraments; - a “oneness” that is sustained and grows into a union of Love via Prayer and Sacrament; - particularly the Holy Eucharist; - the Sacrament of God’s Love!
Gospel Acclamation cf.Jn15:16
I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord,
to go and bear fruit that will last.
First reading Colossians 2:6-15 ·
The Lord has brought you to life with him
*You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received* – Jesus the Lord; you must be rooted in him and built on him and held firm by the faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving.
Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some second-hand, empty, rational philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ.
In his body lives the fullness of divinity, and in him you too find your own fulfilment, in the one who is the head of every Sovereignty and Power.
In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision not performed by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. This is circumcision according to Christ. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.
He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross; and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.