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Friday, January 20, 2012

Companionship

"He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach." Mk 3:14

What does it mean to be with someone? We can be together in the same subway car, in the same business, in the same town or city, but this is not what Mark's gospel means when it says that Jesus appointed twelve apostles to be with him. Though the apostles themselves did not fully understand what Jesus was doing when he called them to follow him, they did know he wanted them to preach and drive out demons in his name. That their call would irrevocably change the world was not immediately evident to them. Like us, they were challenged to follow the Lord by faith not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7)

When I was in the seminary, our canon law professor often repeated a Latin phrase, Nemo judex in causa sua. No one is a judge in his own case. Because we are called to ministry in a community of believers, we don't decide on our own exactly how to serve and evangelize others, but trust the community of faith to call us to use our gifts for the good of all.

We see this clearly in the new Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Every Sunday catechumens and candidates assemble at the Eucharist with the rest of the community, but with powerful gestures and rituals are sent together with their sponsors to reflect upon God's word and the teaching of the church to discern their call. Only when they have studied, reflected upon and prayed together are they fully welcomed through the sacraments of initiation into the community of faith to be "with the Lord" in a formal way.

It is good to reflect upon our vocations regularly.  How are we "with the Lord?"  Are we living committed lives of service and evangelization, and anxious to discern what else the Lord might want from us?  Do others recognize in us a power that comes, not from our own efforts and study, but as a gift from God?

Today, ask God to call you again and send you as his disciple into the world.

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