An Unlikely Bunch

This reading may seem strange today—a list of the names of those whom
Jesus called to be his apostles. What makes this list startling, though, is
when you begin to realize what an unlikely bunch this was. Certainly, if
Jesus had employed a Human Resources manager, this disparate and
divisive group would never have been created! The new community which
Jesus began with the two sets of brothers—Peter and Andrew, and James
and John (whom Jesus called the “Sons of Thunder” because of their
intense sibling rivalry)—now included a tax collector (hated by other Jews
for “selling out” to the Romans), a zealot (a freedom fighter opposed to
Roman rule and seeking to overthrow it by force), a Pharisee (who would
have hated and been hated by the previous two), and miscellaneous others
of different backgrounds. The first few weeks of living with this bunch must
have been both frightening and frustrating! Yet, it is this strange collection
of people that Jesus called to be the first to embody his message of God’s
Reign, and whom he commanded to love one another.
One thing is certain, as we reflect on what this means for us: we do not get
to choose the people we will have to live with in God’s Reign. Rather, God
calls us to connect with those we are least likely to befriend, and to do the
tough work of learning to love them. Only when we have truly understood
and accepted this call have, we really become followers of Christ, and only
then can we truly say that we have learned to love.

A good way to learn to love others is to pray for them. It’s very hard to stay
disconnected from those you really grow compassionate toward through
prayer. Today take time to pray especially for the people you find it most
difficult to love.

Teach me, O God, to love and welcome others as you have loved and
welcomed me.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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