Jesus Chooses Us As His Apostles
The community of the Christians of Colossae was threatened with deviations from pagan philosophies and Jewish practices. In the very dense and rich passage of today, Paul insists that all that counts is Christ; we live in him through baptism, and die and rise with him.
As in other very important occasions in his life, Jesus prays before selecting twelve apostles from among his disciples. For this is a very important moment. He will train them and then will take the risk of entrusting his own work to fallible people. He knows they will not always do the best they can, as they will have moments of fear, discouragement, cowardice and compromises. Still, he trusts them enough and will help them to bring his work to a good end in God’s own good time. In this Eucharist we express our trust in the Church of Jesus Christ.
1 Reading: Colossians 2:6-15
Brothers and sisters: As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to the tradition of men, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ. For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by hand, by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ. You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross; despoiling the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 145:1b-2, 8-9, 10-11
R. (9) The Lord is compassionate toward all his works.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever. R.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works. R.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might. R.
Alleluia: cf. John 15:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
that you may go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 6:12-19
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.
Today’s first reading from Colossians spells out the benefits of Christian baptism. In Christ dwells the fullness of the deity. By being incorporated into him, we are circumcised with a circumcision not of the flesh but one in the Spirit. When we were dead by reason of our transgressions, in our state of uncircumcision, we were buried with him in baptism and thence brought to life. And what did that mean? All of our transgressions were obliterated. The handwriting that had been against us was nailed to the cross, rendering powerless the evil powers that had been aligned against us.
This is what Christian freedom means. We are no longer the slaves of sin nor subject to a law that was powerless to save. We are now free to do the good that God inspires, as long as we walk in Christ, rooted in him, established in the faith, and abounding in thanksgiving. Our lives should make a difference. Our conduct should be an inspiration.
“Continue to live your lives in Christ Jesus the Lord, rooted and built up in him. You were buried with him in baptism; you were raised with him through faith. God made you alive together with him.” Stay in him with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!