1 Corinthians 6:1-11
Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
Jesus’ decision to appoint the Twelve Apostles was a prayer-event – it was the fruit of Jesus’ communion with his heavenly Father. He knew each one of his disciples, he knew their faults and failings, their gifts and their talents. He saw their hearts and was not fooled by outward appearances.
Simon Peter would be the Rock who remains firm in the faith, who repents and strengthens his brethren, who feeds and tends the flock of the Church. Andrew, the first-called, would become a fisher of men and call men and women to follow Christ. James and John, the sons of thunder, would learn the way of God’s merciful love. Philip would lead men and women along the path that leads to the Father. Bartholomew, the one without guile, would teach the way of child-like simplicity, the condition for entry into the Kingdom. Matthew would teach how to leave everything and sell everything to obtain the Kingdom, the pearl of great price. Thomas would lead others on the path to Jerusalem and teach them how to find refuge in the wounds of the risen Christ. James would teach the principles of right conduct and the vanity of faith without love. Simon would be consumed by zeal for Christ, the new temple. Jude appeals to Christians to wait prayerfully and patiently for the Lord and to not give into doubt or let themselves be deceived by false prophets. Finally, Jesus knew that Judas would betray him and hand him over to the temple authorities. He knew how Judas struggled with sin and would despair when faced with the gravity of his sin.
Jesus called the Apostles to be with him throughout his public ministry and learn from him. He would teach them how to pray, how to enter into communion with the Father. They would be his disciples and the sign of the restoration of the twelve tribes of Israel. They were called to humble service, but this service would lead to deep friendship with him. Just as Jesus’ washed their feet, they would be called to wash the feet of the communities they served.
The Apostles would be granted authority to govern the Church. They would be guided by the Holy Spirit so that they could bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations. They would be filled with the Holy Spirit so that they could work for the sanctity of the Church, baptizing, confirming through the laying on of hands, celebrating the Eucharist, forgiving sins, healing the sick, ordaining others for ministry, and bringing men and women into the covenant bond of marriage.
The Apostles will lead men and women to inherit the Kingdom of God and do so by combating sin in their lives. Saint Paul today puts Christians on guard about injustice. If we are truly brothers and sisters in the Lord, then we should seek to be reconciled with one another. The condition for entry into the Kingdom is observing the commandments. We have been washed clean through the waters of Baptism. We have been justified by the grace of Christ and are brought to sanctity by the Holy Spirit.
When we sin we need to place ourselves before the throne of God’s mercy and confess our sins with a contrite heart. When others sin against us, we need to show them mercy, imitating the merciful love of our heavenly Father and the merciful heart of Jesus. Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.
— Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at [email protected].