1 Corinthians 6:1-11
The Son of God became the son of Mary in order to bring the human race back to the love and friendship of God. The gospels give us glimpses of his divinity and his humanity. He reveals his glory to Peter, James and John in the Transfiguration where his glory bursts forth. We see him as a weary, thirsty human traveler exhausted under the hot sun asking the Samaritan woman to give him a drink of water.
In today’s reading we see another aspect of his humanness, as a human being he turns to the Eternal Father in prayer. He has become aware of the immensity of his mission and perhaps aware of the short time allotted him. He cannot accomplish the greatest work of God’s love alone, he needs helpers close to him, helpers he can train, instruct even sanctify. Whom will he choose?
Will they be learned scribes, students of Gamaliel, such as one Paul of Tarsus? Learned men of good-will such as Nicodemus. Or will he find devoted followers among the common, mostly illiterate people, the despised: fishermen, a tax collector, a Zealot. What gifts, what powers can he give them?
He takes his questions, his needs, his plans, to the Father who sent him, he spends a whole night in prayer.
In the morning he calls to himself, Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip, who had wondered about the Baptist and were told that this Jesus was the Mysterious Lamb of God. And now they along with Bartholemew, Thomas, James of Alphaeus Judas, son of the Iscariot, were given a mission.
They were to proclaim the advent of the Kingdom of God, in this Jesus of Nazareth. They were empowered to anoint and cure all ills, they could command evil spirits to depart. They gloried in their work!
Their full education would come with the Last Supper, the dread Good Friday and Sun Burst of the Resurrection. Jesus would leave them, but send the fullness of the Spirit – they were now messengers to all nations, the foundations stones of the Church. On them would rely future apostles, Luke, Appolos, Ignatius of Antioch, Athanasius, Chryhsostom, Augustine, Gregory, Miznenty, Romero, as well as the religious and lay woman slain because of fidelity to their apostolic mission. For in our day the cloak of the apostle is given to the laity as well. Vatican II had the official successors of the 12 declare, "Lay people’s right and duty to be apostles derives from their union with Christ their Head. They are in the Mystical Body of Christ by baptism. It is by the Lord Himself that they are assigned to the apostolate."
Fr. Fred Sucher, C.P. is retired and lives in the Passionist community in Chicago. For many years he taught philosophy to Passionist seminarians.