JESUS’ MINISTRY AND THE CALL OF APOSTLESWhat a fulfilment of the words of a Holy man of God! One of the authenticities of a Prophet is the fulfilment of his prophecies. It came to pass in the life of John the Baptist. John unequivocally made it known to the public that his mission is only to prepare the way for the Messiah. He pointed out the Messiah and declared that he will continue to increase while he John will continue to decrease.
On the other hand, Jesus the Messiah never appeared publicly in his ministry until John gave way – John was arrested and imprisoned and his mission ended thus. Then Jesus took up the stage.
Everything is destined, each in it’s own way. Whatever has a beginning definitely has an end. But the question remains: how is that end going to be? John was blunt, quite unassuming in his ministry of being the precursor of the Messiah, in preparing people to meet him and in revealing him to the public when he eventually came. The centre of his preaching was REPENTANCE. His mission ended though painfully, cruelly and bloody but gloriously in his undaunted justification of the need for repentance, in the hands of the adulterous Herod and Herodians.
Concordantly , as John honorably gave way, Jesus, not in contradiction of John but in affinity with him began and continued his ministry with REPENTANCE : REPENT FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.
Then, having heard John and Jesus since we received baptism, how much have we yielded to this call of repentance? Repentance does not end that we are Christians. Yes, these days, even devil can claim to be a Christian. But in my private and personal life, how have I repented of my vices, of my sins? Only I know my weaknesses, how much effort am I making to overcome them? Repentance is a daily resolution and action, in fact, it is every moment demand. How do I struggle each time and every moment to swim against the tides of the feebleness of human nature? John ended so gloriously, how would my own inevitable end going to be, glorious or shameful? All is in my hand and the choice is mine and mine alone.
Yes, in the beginning of His ministry Jesus called his apostles, the foundations upon which he intends to erect his church. What sorts of people did Jesus called?THE MEN JESUS CALLED
In the work force of Jesus’ ministry academic degree is never a criterion nor is it social or political status. Not even financial buoyancy nor material riches are criteria.
To the astonishment of the people Jesus chose the simple and ordinary men of the society to be his apostles. He chose fishermen, tax collector and the likes.
No wonder the scripture aptly said that no one takes this honour upon himself. He must be called and chosen. Jesus calls and chooses his ministers. They don’t call nor choose themselves. Jesus calls not the qualified into his ministry, but he advertently qualifies those he calls. Imagine, even me a priest of God today. I am not in any way qualified but Jesus called me in my dungeon of sin and qualified me to be his minister, a priest.
By the virtue of our Baptism into Christ, Jesus called each an every one of us to be his apostle today, each according to each State of life – married men and women, priest, consecrated men and women, single virginity in the world; men, women, youths, adults and children etc. Whatever profession/occupation and or vocation we are into, we are chosen as apostles of Jesus regardless of our unworthiness. The bane lies in our responses.
Do we realize that we are apostles ? Do we know that Jesus has called and chosen us? Are we convinced that in our states of lives we represent one of the twelve apostles? Then, How do we respond to our apostolic call? How we respond to this call depends on the reason for our call or mission.
THE REASON FOR THE CALL OF THE APOSTLES
Jesus called his apostles mainly to follow him and then to be his witnesses to the whole world.
In following Jesus the apostles are to learn from him and believe in him. Couldn’t this be one of the reasons for his first recorded miracle at wedding at Cana in Galilee? Yes the apostles saw the miracle and they believed in him.
We have been following Jesus, some since birth, some since childhood, others, since youthful age and Old age. Jesus has been in turn doing so many wonders around us and within us. Have we seen and believed in him or are we still waiting to see more before we believe? Some will claim that they have not seen, some that they have not seen enough to believe. How many times did the apostles saw and believed in him? Have we forgotten that we are apostles? Even at that, what of our life today, how much guarantee do we have for it? What of our lovely families and friends, how do we guarantee our relationships with them and their sustenance? What of our status/positions/occupations, our wealth and riches, how would we guarantee their continued existence? Etc We have every reason to believe in God.
Moreover, the apostles learning and believing in him are to bear witness to Jesus, to present/give Jesus and his love to the whole world. They are to carry the message of repentance to the ends of the world. This the apostles did so perfectly well , otherwise we wouldn’t have had the gospel today.
As apostles, we are to continue the dissemination of this good news to every people on earth through various means at our disposals – our life first, through the church, through our families, through our various offices and posts, through our vocations and careers, anywhere, everywhere, and every time.
In spite of our fickleness we are to triumph. The apostles didn’t have any education yet they succeeded in preaching the gospel to the whole world. They didn’t have money yet they built Christ in uncountable people’s heart. They didn’t have any political strength yet they formed the strongest organization in the world. Initially they were without support, everywhere opposed yet they advanced and permeated the whole world. Therefore, no limitation, opposition, no challenge is enough to be obstacle to us if only we can follow Jesus at once as he has called us.
May the good Lord give us the grace to repent, hear Jesus as he calls us daily and at once respond positively to him according to our state of life all the days of our life without weary, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.