Hos 10:1-3, 7-8, 12
Jesus has been gathering a growing number of disciples since the beginning of his public ministry. According to today’s gospel reading, from this larger group, Jesus called twelve to whom he gave authority and power to share in his healing ministry.
The number twelve was significant; it is a reminder of the twelve tribes of Israel. This group of twelve were to symbolize the renewed Israel that Jesus was working to form. Jesus chose these twelve very deliberately. They were to receive intensive training and instruction so as to share in his ministry in a special way.
Yet, by the end of the gospel, every one of this group had deserted him, the first-mentioned of the group, Peter had denied him publicly, and the last mentioned, Judas Iscariot had betrayed him to his enemies. In spite of the fact that these twelve had been given special authority and power and had spent more time in his company than others, listening to him and seeing what he did, they failed him when the cross came into view.
They were not faithful to their calling. In the words of today’s first reading, their hearts were divided. Although Jesus calls people, calls each one of us, he cannot force us to respond to his call. Although he has a purpose for our lives, he is somewhat helpless before our refusal to co-operate with his purpose for us. Yet, in the gospel story, the failure of the twelve was not the end of their relationship with Jesus. After he rose from the dead, he appeared to them in Galilee and renewed his relationship with them, sending them out to preach the gospel to all nations.
The Lord may be helpless before our failure but he remains faithful to us in spite of our unfaithfulness to him and he is always at work to bring some good out of our failures. All he asks is that, in the words of today’s first reading, we continue to ‘go seeking the Lord’. Amen
Fr. John Peter