Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew,and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot,and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
After Jesus endures many run-ins with the Pharisees, he goes off to a mountain to pray. When day comes, he calls his disciples and from them chooses Twelve, whom he calls Apostles. Next, Jesus and his Apostles descend the mountain to preach to and heal a great crowd.
While it may seem part of his job, Jesus’ dedication to prayer and solitude always strikes me. Often when he is faced with a tough decision or a big event, Jesus seeks communion with God and prays deeply over his next move. I’d do well to follow Jesus’ example. So often work, raising a family, fretting over the budget, and juggling commitments keep me swirling until my head hits the pillow (and sometime long after). I’ll seek solitude and pray tomorrow, I often promise. But most of the time, the whirlwind sweeps me away.
Also striking is who Jesus calls to help him carry out his mission. In choosing the Twelve Apostles from a wide array of disciples, Jesus puts his deepest trust in a group that consists of fishermen, a zealot, Galileans, a Judean, a toll collector, one with a Greek name, and one who goes on to betray him. In many ways this rag-tag bunch gives me hope that I, too, can help Jesus carry out his mission.
As today’s passage ends with Jesus preaching to and healing a great crowd, let’s ask ourselves how we can reach out to those in need around us. Let’s set aside time to pray for a deeper understanding of our calling and our role in building God’s Kingdom.
—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life
Lord, whenever you make an important decision, you pray to the Father. You seek God’s counsel and surrender your will to your Father’s will. If only we could consistently follow your example. Too often we give away our time to accommodate that which is not nearly as important as our relationship with you. Let today be different. I trust that the minutes I dedicate to you will indeed keep my life focused on what really matters. There is no greater use of my time than to stay in communication with you!
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!