This was originally posted at FaithND, which provides daily Gospel reflection from Notre Dame alumni. Check it out and sign up if you’d like!
(Luke 6:12 -19)
**Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.**
I often fear for the children that my (non-existent) wife and I have not yet brought into this world. Children imitate their parents. They take on their mannerisms, their habits, and their language. This means I have a lot of cleaning up to do. It means I have to embark on my own journey of imitation—an imitation of Jesus.
This call to imitation, however, does not just apply to my future status as a parent, but as today’s Gospel indicates, to any and all vocations to ministry.
While it is tempting to focus on this “Choosing of the Twelve” scene as the pivotal moment in this Gospel passage, it might be more fruitful focus on the bracketing actions: Jesus praying and Jesus healing.
When we see the choosing of the Twelve in the light of Jesus praying and healing, we realize that Jesus is up to something far greater than simply selecting his followers. He is teaching them, giving them a model for their lives of ministry after he returns to the Father. Jesus’ actions in this Gospel are showing them that they must pray before they serve.
As Luke indicates (and Mark elsewhere), the healing and reconciliation of God’s people has a tangible, draining effect on Jesus: “Power came out from him.” Jesus knows the Twelve will not be exempt from this experience of being drained, nor will any who come after them (I envision a lot of heads nodding here).
Thus, when Jesus calls us to serve, whether as parents, priests, educators, or whatever—he calls to a life like his. He calls us to begin in prayer, to build a real and robust relationship with God. Only then can we bring healing—only then can we ourselves be worth imitating.
Javier Soegaard ‘10