“Everyone will be forgotten, nothing we do will make any difference, and all good endeavors, even the best, will come to naught. Unless there is God. If the God of the Bible exists, and there is a True Reality beneath and behind this one, and this life is not the only life, then every good endeavor, even the simplest ones, pursued in response to God's calling, can matter forever.” - Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan
Gospel Text: (MK 3:13-19)
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
Today’s gospel tells us about Jesus calling his apostles. “He summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.” There are two sides to this call: Jesus summoned; they came to him. He calls us, but we have to respond to him. If we ignore that call from him, we can't have the relationship Jesus wants with us so much.
But what is it that keeps us from sometimes “hearing” that call from Jesus? Has my life become so filled with work that I am not aware? Am I so worried about events or honors that I ignore Jesus? Do I worry more about my own reputation than living the gospel life?
Among those in the gospel Jesus beckoned to come closer to him were some of his closest friends - including those he bestowed with nicknames, like the Sons of Thunder. But we can't say that we are not worthy to be called. He also called Judas “who betrayed him.” Every one of us who are called by Jesus will betray him at times, but he continues to ask for us. Over and over he says our name, holds out his arms in welcome and loves us beyond measure, despite the ways we ignore him. He loves us in ways we can't understand with a love so different than ours. He doesn't have the long, bitter and unforgiving memories that enable us to hold grudges. He doesn't wait for us to “earn” our place in his heart. He simply loves us and accepts us for who we are.
Today we can be alert. We can pay attention. Can we hear his call? Can we feel his love? How is our life different today because we are his followers?