The Call of Community

Mark 3: 13-19
1 Sm 24:3-21/ Psa 57

He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
(Mark 3:14)

Our Lord chose His twelve apostles
As the Church’s first community;
We have learned as His disciples
Its importance in our ministry.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve He appointed: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. (Mark 3:13-19)

Reflection

Jesus’ going up a mountainside and calling His twelve apostles to Himself brings to mind a parallel incident in the Old Testament, where Moses, the leader of the twelve tribes of Israel went up to Mt. Sinai to meet God to make a covenant with Him for the people. There, Yahweh God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. In the case of the apostles, it was not commandments that Jesus gave them, but authority to preach, to drive out demons, and to give witness that the Messiah had come.

It appears that the evangelist Mark named the apostles that Jesus picked according to their position of importance. Simon being named first was obviously because Jesus appointed him to be the leader of the twelve. The sons of Zebedee: James and John came next because they belonged to the inner circle, the three apostles whom Jesus always brought with Him on important occasions (like the Transfiguration, the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law and the raising of Jairus’ daughter to life, Mk.5:37). Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and was always eager to serve. Philip came next (“Follow me”) when Jesus went to Galilee, and he in turn called Bartholomew (Nathanael), whom Jesus called “a true Israelite”. Matthew was a former tax collector who left his post when Jesus called him, and Thomas was the doubting one. James, Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot probably followed after Thomas. And Judas is mentioned last simply because he was the one who betrayed the Lord Jesus.

When He picked His 12 apostles, our Lord showed us the importance of establishing a community that would continue His mission after He returned to the Father. We can never be as effective in carrying out our calling or vocation in life unless we belong to a community as the apostles did. The community is our support group, our prayer intercessors, our ‘critical mass’ needed to make an impact in the marketplace. Alone in the meadow, a solitary tree is vulnerable to strong winds, but in the forest, a tree can grow straight, tall and strong. Such is the value of a spiritual community.

With a loving community, we can boldly face the vital challenge of our renewal: our ministry. This is the true purpose of being in the renewal: to fight the good fight for Christ, to win the battle for souls. In numbers we have the confidence and strength to fulfill our mission. On this we have no reason to doubt or fear. Jesus has shown us this lesson today.

Father God, we thank You for giving us our community, and empowering us each time we come to You for strength and guidance. May we live up to Your great love by seeking out others who are still searching for Your Light, and bringing them to Your Beloved Son, Jesus, Who has shown us the Way. Amen.

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