Readings (Year B)
Reflection: Chosen by God
To be chosen feels pretty special. A number of years ago, I was chosen principal of one of our diocesan Catholic high schools. Although I had taught there prior to my appointment, I had no degree or experience in school administration. There is no doubt that God inspired my appointment. The Holy Spirit was with me in those years. In spite of my shortcomings, the school grew and prospered in that time.
God chose apostles who were unqualified; God chose me, and God chooses and appoints you. We feel God’s love in choosing us.
Consider the apostles. They were fishermen, a doctor, and a tax collector. They were not from the class of religious leaders of the day. Yet, these are the people Jesus chose early in his ministry to walk with him as he went about teaching and preaching, healing and forgiving God’s people. They saw Jesus show compassion and love to sinners and the outcast of society. Jesus spoke God’s word of love. He himself was the Word of God made flesh. Jesus is love incarnate.
Yet they fled at the arrest of Jesus. All but John scattered. Peter denied him; Judas betrayed him. They allowed fear to grab their hearts. Except for Judas, the rest of them found their way back to the Upper Room. The Lord inspired them to wait. Finally, Jesus arrived! They were skeptical and terrified. Jesus had a choice. What to do with this group who fled at his death? Jesus could have expelled them from his presence, but he didn’t. Instead, Jesus was compassionate and forgiving, inviting them to feel his wounds. They embraced him in love. Thus they believed in the resurrection of Jesus, key to their future as disciples.
In this weekend’s gospel, Jesus says “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (John 15:16). Jesus chose this unqualified group of people to lead his church. He knew their shortcomings and sins yet chose them. He knew what they could accomplish, and so sent them the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to inspire their ministry. And did they deliver! They baptized, preached, taught, and healed, showing God’s love. Many of them met a martyr’s death for doing so.
You have a vocation, a calling to love in your particular life, to bear fruit among the people God has placed in your life. God has called you in spite of your imperfections. All of us are chosen and appointed. That’s how much God loves us! Let’s go forth and bring God’s love, care, and compassion to all whom we meet. Fortified and strengthened by the Eucharist, Christ’s body and blood, God sends us to show people through our actions that God loves them. How blessed we are that God would send us on this incredible journey of bearing fruit in God’s name.
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