WHEN THE PHARISEES went to the officials of Herod and began conspiring with them to do away with Jesus, He withdrew from Capernaum to a hilly region some distance down the Galilean shore. The first night He spent in prayer on the mountainside, and at dawn the next day He summoned His disciples and chose from them twelve men whom He called Apostles, who were to aid in establishing His kingdom. The Apostles were Simon, whom Jesus renamed Peter; Simon’s brother, Andrew; James and John, the sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew (Nathanael), who had followed Him from Judea; Matthew (Levi), the former tax-collector of Capernaum; James, Jude Thaddeus, and Simon, all sons of Alpheus; Thomas; and Judas, a native of Carioth in Judea, who was to betray Jesus.
These men whom Jesus had chosen as His aides and intimate companions were, for the most part, rude and uneducated. They were obtuse, jealous, revengeful, provincial, cowardly, ambitious, and weak-willed. But they were endowed with basic virtues which were to develop steadily during their long companionship with Jesus. With the exception of Judas, they were all to prove themselves worthy of the trust He placed in them.
Having chosen His Apostles, Jesus led them and His other disciples down the east side of the mountain to a level stretch overlooking the sea. A great multitude gathered there. They had brought their sick and afflicted to be healed by Jesus. And He cured them, but He warned those whom He cured not to reveal what He had wrought, fulfilling what the prophet Isaiah had said of Him: “Behold, My Servant, whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He will declare judgment to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle, nor cry aloud, neither will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking wick He will not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory; and in His name will the Gentiles hope.”
Meditation: One of the mysteries of divine providence is the wonderful use God can make of seemingly defective creatures. The apostles furnish a striking example. Ordinary men with ordinary talents and only meager education, they were given the task of spreading Christ’s message throughout the world. They appeared to be unlikely choices. But all of them, the unhappy Judas excepted, lived up to their calling, because they co-operated with the graces given them by God. God can use us, too. In fact, He wants to use us in the spread of His kingdom on earth.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 47-48. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.