Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Today, the Lord called twelve men to follow Him. The miracle is not that they were chosen. The miracle is that they were glad to be chosen, and I have often marveled at this fact.
A while back, I celebrated Mass for the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Theresa’s religious order, who serve the poorest of the poor by being poor themselves. These nuns bind their own music books with cardboard and live in a very modest home in Oak Cliff. They invited me to stay after Mass but I couldn’t. When I told the sister that I needed to leave immediately to celebrate a funeral, her eyes lit up and a huge smile came to her face and she asked me with excitement and suspense, “Who went to heaven!!!” I was floored by her reaction. Actually, I was floored by her faith. Why is her faith so strong? What makes it possible for her to live like she does? And why are they loved by so many?
Forget for a moment that you are an away-from-home professional or a stay-at-home professional. Think for a moment and ask yourself the question, “Why in the world did these men follow the Lord? Why in the world would anyone follow an individual that demanded poverty, chastity and obedience? Why in the world would anyone give up their family, land, possessions and career? Why would anyone make such a change in their lives?” I think the answer comes down to this: They found themselves. They found themselves through Christ.
One of the biggest let downs in my life came soon after I graduated from College. I had always imagined my life would take on a refreshing and exciting twist of meaning and enlightenment once I landed a job and made big bucks. As you can see, I was not impressed at all. Yes, the money was great and I was saving as much of it as possible to ensure my future. But I noticed that working eight hours a day, five days a week, was more of a distraction than an attraction. I would not even dare allow myself to think that maybe I had picked the wrong career. But of course I picked the wrong career! I can truly sympathize with many young people who struggle picking a major or career that will lighten their lives.
After killing myself for six years and earning a Master’s Degree in Science, I could not believe that all that education, all that study had been to ensure the quality of a product: film. And that twenty years later, would become completely obsolete.
“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
While I was working, I discovered my true passion rested in discussing politics and religion with my colleagues. I knew at the time that you were not supposed to talk about these two things. But guess what? I did, and it worked! I evangelized while I worked. I even went on a date with a Jewish girl to find out more about Judaism! Only later did I realize she was a secular Jew.
I invite all of you to do your job well, but do it always with the idea of being sent – being an Apostle of Jesus Christ. Moms and dads, raise your children as if you were raising them for Jesus Christ. Husbands and wives, you have been sent by God to strengthen the beauty, the dignity and the sanctity of marriage. Regardless of where you work and what you do, make sure that your ethics, your morals and your values shine bright. Whatever you do in your life, do it for Jesus Christ. Raise the bar and raise awareness to the Lord of life! Why were the Apostles so successful? Why were they loved or hated so much? Because they tried harder. They didn’t allow barriers or walls or conventions or correctness to get in the way.
The Apostles are a microcosm of the world. What Jesus did for them he wishes to do for all of us: The Lord wants us to follow Him more closely and more dearly.