Jesus makes clear to his Apostles that: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you”. This is no power play on Jesus’ part, just a way of asserting his authority. Only a few verses earlier we can read that Jesus called his disciples friends. Jesus’ claim is a reminder that God is the center, initiator, and prime mover of all that exists. His disciples were invited to a deeper relationship with God through their participation in the life of Jesus. They lived and traveled with him, they were his closest companions during his public ministry. He guided, mentored, and taught his disciples the deposit of faith that he wanted them to pass on. And at the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, would empower them to do so.
The Apostles were not chosen for their own sake, what they received from Jesus was not to be for themselves alone. What they were to pass on was no secret knowledge for a select few. Jesus appointed them “to go and bear fruit that will remain” (Jn 15:16). The Kerygma, the Gospel message to be proclaimed, was to be for all the nations. By reading the Book of Acts, the second volume of the Gospel of Luke, we can witness that the Apostles laid the foundation for that to happen. The core of the deposit of faith that has been passed on generation after generation and which we proclaim every Sunday in the Nicene Creed, is that we believe in one God; one Lord Jesus Christ who is consubstantial, of the same substance as the Father; one Holy Spirit, who with the Father and Son is adored and glorified; and one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We who call ourselves Christians, believers and followers of Jesus Christ, are part of a tradition in which each generation, each person has encountered Jesus for him or her self time and time again. Jesus continues to choose us to serve with him, he invites us each and every day to participate in his life and his mission to come to know him and through him to know his Father, our God and Lord of all. In the humanity that the Son of God assumed, he opened up heaven for us. We have access to building a relationship with God through the Love of the Holy Spirit and in doing so we become sanctified, holy; not so people look at us, but so that they can see the service we offer and the love and joy we share, such that others no longer see us, but Jesus, and so too can receive the invitation to come and know Jesus.
Is the history of the Church from the time of Jesus perfect? No. Are we perfect? No. But in surrendering our life to Jesus each day we become more and more conformed to him, we are being perfected in our participation in his life, such that we can have a foretaste of heaven now in this life. We are chosen to go and bear fruit that will last, we are invited to receive and share the love and life of Jesus with others. May we renew ourselves in the love and forgiveness of Jesus on this Lord’s Day, and serve him as we serve one another, with thoughts, words, and actions embodied with his love, joy, and mercy.
Link for the Mass readings for Sunday, May 6, 2018: