Saturday, January 23, 2016


My morning lectio on Friday never got past the first verse of the gospel of the day:

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, (Mk 3:13).

Actually, I never got past the very first line: “He summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.” Sounds like a pretty straightforward process, right?  Just two steps: Jesus calls the people he wants, and they come.

As I sat reflecting on this simple arrangement, it occurred to me that this was not exactly the story of my life so far. There’s no doubt that Jesus calls me, on a regular basis, as someone he wants. But rather than being honored at the idea of being chosen and “wanted” for a mission, I am sometimes too busy and distracted to hear the call, or simply choose to do something else instead of respond to Jesus’ voice.

I figured it was important for me to make a quick list of the ways that Jesus’ call can come to me in my daily life, so I started to actually list some of them in my prayer journal. Soon, however, they started coming so fast that I couldn’t keep up, so I just sat there and reflected on them as I looked the next verse:

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.

I asked myself, “How does the Lord call me to be an apostle to go forth and preach his presence and deal with demons? What does my apostleship look like in action?”

Naturally, the answers to these questions kept popping up throughout the rest of the day, in all sorts of ordinary, pedestrian ways. When I was correcting a set of tests, I took a few seconds to write an encouraging note on the bott0m of some of them when I thought a student could use a little boost. Several times in class or in a school hallway I was consciously kind to a kid when I could have acted quite otherwise -- I guess I sense that this was part of my apostle’s job. Just as I sat down last night to write this post, a lonely acquaintance of mine phoned simply because she needed someone to chat with for awhile, so my important post about apostleship had to be postponed until this morning.

As for “the authority to drive out demons,” that’s sort of interesting. I know I have different “powers” (the Greek word is daimon) or forces inside me that compete with the one Divine Power that alone can bring true happiness and salvation. In my struggles with these disordered appetites it’s comforting to think of this: I have been sent into battle by Jesus sharing his ability and authority to drive out demons. I have “authority” over those things in my life that would distract me from baptismal calling. Any time I want, I can say to one of those demons, “Be quiet! Leave!” Hmm. But I’m sure this needs to be said with total conviction, the way our Lord would have said it: “Be quiet! Leave him!” I definitely need some practice on that one.

Meanwhile, I’ll try to stay alert for the calls, the opportunities to be an apostle of the kingdom for people around me, and, who knows, maybe even have a go at a couple of those demons.


Ash Wednesday is February 10th. I hope you'll join us on our Lenten journey along the Pilgrim Road to Easter using the daily readings in "Pilgrim Road: A Benedictine Journey Through Lent."

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