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Father Muench Says...

Jesus called the twelve and calls us

January 27, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Tomorrow, I have been assigned to celebrate the morning Mass. I just noticed that the Gospel reading for Mass is the story of Jesus choosing his twelve apostles from St. Mark’s Gospel. I want to tell you that I have found the writings of several excellent authors who have written about this event in the Gospels. I will certainly be using some of their ideas, as well as my own.

I suspect I have told you that I believe that most Gospel readings are about us. So, I believe that just as Jesus called those original twelve apostles, Jesus continues to call people like you and me to be his disciples now. We call this vocation. I believe that Jesus is calling out to us now. So, the questions for ourselves now: Are you that one that Jesus would have noticed as a good apostle as he walked on the face of this earth? Are you the one that Jesus continues to choose today as a good apostle today? Can you recognize the Lord challenge you to do something good now just as he did for that original Twelve?

For some reason, Jesus noticed something wise that he found in that twelve for the task of preaching the Kingdom of God and for healing the sick in the power of that Kingdom. I am absolutely certain that today there are many opportunities for dedicated people to accomplish the same things Peter, Andrew, James and John – and all those others – were able to accomplish. However, do we hear the Lord choosing us today? In so many ways we are called to realize that being an apostle is a wonderful vocation. What we must understand that we are all called to be an apostle of the Lord. A priest and a bishop must be a good apostle. A dedicated lay person must be a good apostle.

It is important to notice that Jesus chose very ordinary people – non-professionals, with no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people – people who did ordinary things. They had no special education. Today some of the best apostles, some of the individuals who truly bring the message of the Lord to others, are rather ordinary, common people.

Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men not for what they were but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.

We are called to be apostles of the Lord. Jesus calls us to serve, and we must not refuse because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord is so wise. The Lord can take what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for the Kingdom.

So, the challenge for us is whether we are ready to make our lives an offering to the Lord and allow him to use us as he sees fit. The Spirituality of the Priest is spoken of in the Catholic Catechism for Adults. “Priests should be taught to seek Christ.” It has a specific application in the context of the calling of the Apostles. When John tells the story of the way the first two disciples followed Christ, he highlights this “search.” It is Jesus himself who asks the question: “What do you seek?” And the two reply, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day.” In a certain sense, the spiritual life of the person who is preparing for priesthood is dominated by this search. This seeking will have to continue throughout the priest’s life and ministry.

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