This morning’s gospel (LK 6:12-19) is about the choice of those who will be the closest associates of Jesus during his public ministry. I’m interested most of all in the manner in which he went about choosing them. First, the gospel says, he spent the entire night alone on a mountain in prayer. What a great way to prepare for any serious decision! I’d prefer the daytime but there is something about the quiet in the dark of night that opens the heart to God – away from the distractions of the day. Jesus did this often so the point is not to be missed. Secondly, the gospel says that he gathered all his disciples around him and chose the twelve from among them. This implies more familiarity with his followers than what we read elsewhere about him walking down the beach stopping along the way to say, “Follow me” to some of the fishermen. The upshot of that point is that among those he apparently knew somewhat he chose men that included a political zealot, an impulsive fisherman who would later deny him, two brothers who wanted to have the places of honor in his kingdom (or were at least open to that idea from their mother) and the one who betrayed him into the hands of those who crucified him.
All of this reminds me that Jesus wasn’t necessarily looking for the best and the brightest. Luke, more than all the other gospel writers, was determined to make the point that “all are welcome in the kingdom of God” so it was important that “real people” like you and me be chosen as the apostles. It reminds me of a slogan I have seen lately that says, “God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.” We need to read the lives and works of the apostles in the post-resurrection Christian community in order to see that the choices of Jesus paid off. I plan to be growing in consciousness of my call right up to the moment of my death, letting go of the missteps, the failures – which I’m coming to see more as learning events – and giving thanks for all that brings me closer to that Love that created me and will surely lead me back home in the end.