Sunday, June 15, 2008

He qualifies the called

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, June 15, 2008:

Fr. Mike and I, along with some of our staff and volunteers, had the great opportunity to attend the annual Life Teen Convention this past week. It was a wonderful week of renewal and prayer. During the week, I had one of those moments of epiphany where God revealed something to me. This past week, I came to the realization that I could have easily been one of the Apostles. Now before you think me too vain, let me explain what I mean.

We have before us today in Matthew’s Gospel, the calling of the 12. While at Mass at the convention, one of the priests out there shared with us a letter written to Jesus that sheds some light on the process he went through in selecting the 12. Here it is:

To: Jesus, Son of Joseph, Woodcrafter Carpenter Shop, Nazareth
From: Jordan Management Consultants, Jerusalem

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you've picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now been given a battery of tests. We've not only run the results of these tests through our computer but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultants.

The profiles of all the tests are included, and you'll want to study each one of them carefully. As part of our service and for your guidance, we make some general comments, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation and comes without any additional charge.

It is the staff's opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the “team” concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualifications of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. And Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that could tend to undermine morale. We also feel that it's our duty to tell you that Matthew the Tax Collector has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, son of Alpheaus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He's a man of ability and resourcefulness. He meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. And so we are pleased to recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All the other profiles are self-explanatory. We wish you every success in your new venture.

Signed: Jordan Management Consultants.

So, you see, given that line up of who Jesus called to begin the Church, to carry forward His mission, I’m confident in saying that I easily could have been an Apostle. I’m sure that when I first became aware of Jesus call in my life nearly 20 years ago, that I would not have received an evaluation much better than any of the 12. But, with the Lord, when you are called, it is not for what or who you are already; it is for what and who you can become only with and through Christ. When Jesus looks at us, He sees right past our personal faults and failings and He sees to the core of who we are in His sight; who He has created us to be from before time began.

We remember that Jesus doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. As we read of the calling of the 12 Apostles today, we know this isn’t a mere historic reminder of an event long ago; but that Jesus is calling us again, here, today, now. Today, He once again summons us and sends us out to be the bearers of His message of good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand. If you feel unworthy of that call, let it go – the only qualification you need for this mission is that the Lord has called you. He will give you the strength you need; the courage you need; the words you need. All you have to do is say yes and let God to transform you into the person you are destined to be in His sight.

So, where do we begin? Well, Jesus instructed the apostles to start from familiar territory. Later on he would commission them to go and make disciples of all nations, but for now they must limit their outreach to within their own people. Mission, like charity, begins at home. And so, the place for us to begin would be with the lapsed and lukewarm members of our own families and our own parishes.

The word “apostle” means “a messenger; one who is sent.” Jesus is sending us today to be the messengers to those around us that He loves us, we belong to Him, and the glory of His kingdom awaits all who would follow. Let us say “yes” to Jesus again.

May God give you peace.

2 comments:

  1. Thank You Father Tom for posting this. Father Mike read this at Mass on Saturday night. It is such a great story. Really meant a lot to me.

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  2. Fantastic blog, Father. It's quite ironic (or maybe irony has no play in it?:) that I was just talking to a friend about how I am not a good enough person to lead a religious/consecrated life. Really made me think...

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