Daily Reflection
September 12th, 2000
Rev. Richard Gabuzda
Institute for Priestly Formation
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First Corinthians 6:1-11
Psalms 149:1-6, 9
Luke 6:12-19

“Didn’t Anyone Interview These People?”

The solemnity with which the gospel of Luke describes the “calling of the twelve apostles” invites us to see the importance of this act of Jesus.  We are told that Jesus went to the mountain “spending the night in communion with God.”  The choice of the twelve comes from that long night vigil.  This was no arbitrary or spontaneous choice:  it was a deliberate act born of prayerful reflection.

When we review the choices Jesus made with the advantage of later gospel accounts, we might well wonder if Jesus had listened well during that time of prayer.  Some of the names, together with some details of their lives, read like this:  Peter—denied he ever knew Jesus; James and John, aka “the sons of thunder,” were all for simply wiping out opponents of Jesus (“shouldn’t we call down fire from heaven?”); Thomas—doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead; Judas, as today’s gospel simply notes, “turned traitor.”  

What happened in that prayer time that night?  What did Jesus hear?  Did he really know who these people were?  Couldn’t he have seen their obvious defects?  With our view as employers and employees, we look at Jesus beginning a new and fragile endeavor and we want to ask him, “Didn’t you interview these people?”

Yet, what truly amazes us is that, with one notable exception, all of these chosen ones repented, changed, were transformed, became eloquent proclaimers of the risen Lord and testified to his truth with the giving of their lives.  Not bad choices after all!

A denier, a doubter, two overly-zealous enthusiasts—is this any way to begin a church?  Perhaps the sight of Jesus was deeper than our superficial judgements can admit.  He seemed, in the end, to be quite well aware of the followers he had chosen.

Most of us, from time to time, look at ourselves or those in the church who happen to be near us or around us and wonder, “why me?” “why him or her?”  We are scandalized by others’ or our own failures, tepidity, misplaced zeal or lack of faith.  Perhaps at those moments, we might take consolation in today’s gospel account.  Our judgements of ourselves or others might lack the kind of depth of sight that Jesus possessed in calling the twelve apostles; his was a sight that went beyond initial impressions and the false starts of novices to see into the heart and behold a faithful follower.

What fidelity lies deep within us?  What moment of bold testimony are we yet to face?  What response to the risen Jesus remains hidden within our hearts, waiting for the time to emerge?  Premature judgements about our qualities as followers may serve to block the work of the Holy Spirit who yearns to bring to fruitfulness the seeds of faith that lie within us and are silently growing and will one day surprise us with their presence. 

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