A reading from the gospel according to Luke 6:12-16.
12 Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.
13 When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
15 Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot,
16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Pointers for Reflection:
1. Jesus called his disciples to himself.
Jesus already called His disciples many times before this moment but this time, He called them closer to Himself in order for them to have a deeper relationship with Him. It can also be the case with anyone of us. Perhaps during the first call, people ignore Him. In the second call, they listen to Him out of curiosity. In the next call, they follow Him because they receive blessings. Jesus keeps on calling us to Himself to deepen our understanding of Him, to establish a relationship with Him and finally, to become His apostle. This is the pattern from being a disciple (listener and follower) to being an apostle – a person sent with a mission to witness and teach.
2. Who are the apostles?
The list of the twelve apostles starts with Simon who became Peter and ends with Judas Iscariot who became a traitor. They were a motley crew of ordinary people with little or no education at all. Moreover, one was a tax collector (read: sinner) and another, a doubter. Peter who was chosen to be the team leader would later deny Jesus three times! In short, the chosen twelve were perfectly imperfect individuals with no claim to fame except their willingness to follow and be trained to be witnesses.
3. A Judas on the team.
For some people, the presence of a traitor in the community of the twelve apostles is a big question. Did Jesus make a mistake in His choice? The answer is of course no for two reasons. First, the appointment of Judas Iscariot and his subsequent betrayal of Jesus was a fulfillment of the prophecy in the Old Testament (Psalm 41:9, John 17:12). Second, Jesus never took away the freedom of Judas Iscariot. The latter was a sinner and he chose to remain a sinner even after spending three years in the company of the Son of God.
There is an important lesson to be learned here. In many communities or even among friends, a traitor may be lurking around. We take comfort from Jesus Himself who experienced betrayal.