“Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:” (Lk 6:12-13)
The other morning, I was having breakfast with a friend at a local restaurant, sitting outside enjoying a beautiful Midwest early summer morning. A young father who stood about six feet four or five inches tall, with his three or four-year-old son sat down at the table beside us. I couldn’t help glancing over periodically to watch the two enjoy their meal together. From my vantage point, I saw that the little boy had French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream. It looked so much more tempting than my order of an omelet with a side of sliced fresh tomatoes.
Scott (my breakfast companion) and I were still enjoying our coffee when the father and son got up to go. The little boy finished very little of those delicious looking French Toast, so his father had asked the waiter for a container to take the leftovers home. The father gave his son the container and they got up to leave. The little boy dropped the container and OMG, the toast and strawberries spilled all over the sidewalk. The little boy started bawling and despite the heroic efforts of his father attempts to minimize the accident, his son kept bawling. Only when this six-foot-tall dad, got down on his knees and with his child gathered up the fallen treasure, and replaced it in the take home container, did the little boy quiet down.
I wonder if this is what Jesus expects of his apostles today, to do as this father did, get down on a level with his child and help him amend the “disaster” all the while, not belittling his son or telling him he should have…but just lovingly amending what the child saw as a total disaster. I wonder if the apostles Jesus names in today’s gospel selection were as surprised as this father would be if he was identified as one of Jesus’ twelve?
Jesus, choose me to be your apostle in my world today, spreading the good news that we are all loveable and we can love no matter how clumsily we go about that task.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago.