Scripture: Lectionary 315. January 21. Hebrews 8:6-13. Psalm
85:8.10.11-123.13-14. Mark 3:13-19
Several times in these early chapters of Mark we learn of Jesus separating
himself from the crowds and going off to a lonely place to pray. In our
reading we learn that he does this by leaving the crowd and getting into a
boat to be at a distance from them. He then climbs a mountain followed by
his special community of disciples who now wil be named. They will be known
as the Twevle Apostles. He has made his decision about whom he will choose
to name as apostles. They will be his friends, his followers, and his
apostles. The latter means that his mission will be theirs: to preach,
teach, heal, and exorcise. They will be sent on mission as the word
apostle means "one who is sent in the name of another."
Mark gives us the earliest list of the apostles and it is broken into three
sets of four apostles. The first four will always be Peter, James and John,
and Andrew. The following sets will have some mixing of placement down to
the last who is always the one who betrayed him, Judas Iscariot. Each of
the Synoptics will list the twelve; John does not and has a different
approach to naming the apostles. Jesus in the Fourth Gospel is the Apostle
par excellence sent from the Father as the Word made flesh.
These apostles will actually carry out the mission of Jesus once he is
risen from the dead. Just as Jesus began his ministry once John the
Baptist was imprisoned and had died, so they too will carry on in imitation
of Jesus and what he has called them to be as apostles. We are in the same
boat (another incident of the apostles with Jesus!). Today we are the
voice, the hands,and the presence of Jesus as his apostles who witness to
him. We are their successors "called by name" as the original twelve
were--only through our Baptismal consecration as a holy people, a sacred
people, set apart for the Lord. We are to live out the Paschal Mysteries
of Our Lord, that is, his sufferings, death, and resurrection in the way we
witness to people. Or as St. Francis says, "Preach the Gospel and sometimes
use words!" This is quite a dignity for us to be his apostles. Amen.
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