Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
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Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles…
The Twelve. Their names are well known to us: Simon, whom the Lord named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
So what where they thinking? Were they all giggly and silly? Did they think they had just won the biggest lottery in the world?
I think so. I really do. I remember how I felt the moment I got ordained. I felt like I was in heaven! And I wasn’t alone. All my companions felt the same way. We were laughing and hugging and smiling. We felt like we had beaten the odds and conquered the world. All our fears suddenly vanished. I must say it was the most amazing moment of my life.
Is this any different from how newlyweds feel or Navy SEALS feel after having completed BUD/S training? I don’t think so.
But things happen. Over time you see couples divorce, spouses betray and buddies die. You quickly realize it is not so much about you conquering the world as it is surviving it, and/or not allowing it to crush you.
Careful examination of Scripture reveals how the Lord, once inflating the Twelve, quickly deflated them. It was not uncommon for Him to plant them in dung and prune them like a tree. How else would they grow up on earth and get to heaven?
The one who would betray Him. Did the Apostles think they were going to sail or glide through life? Not at all. They were under no illusions. Most, if not all, were well equipped, and except for one, all of the Lord’s men remained faithful till the end to their King.
When it comes to Judas, the Evangelists did a superb job keeping his awful betrayal fresh in the memories of countless generations of Christians. Whenever one reads his name, he is immediately and always reminded of his betrayal. Judas Iscariot will forever be remembered as the one who “betrayed Him.”
This is not an insult to Judas. It is a blunt warning to all of us. This can happen to the best of us. This can happen regardless of how close we feel we are to God.
For this reason we say, “Have mercy on me, God, have mercy” (Ps. 57:2a). (0)