He called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve. 

Jesus had a big decision to make. Who should he choose to be his apostles and carry on his mission? He knew his disciples well, but he also needed to ask his Father for guidance. After a long night in prayer, Jesus chose twelve men, including Simon, called the Zealot, and Jude, also known as Thaddeus. These two lesser-known apostles, whom we honor today, followed Jesus until his death. Then, after witnessing Jesus’ resurrection and receiving the Holy Spirit, they went on to proclaim the good news as far as modern-day Turkey, where they died as martyrs.

But notice that before he set apart the apostles for their special purpose, Jesus called all his disciples “to himself” (Luke 6:13). He called all of them to be with him and to learn from him. Their relationship with Jesus had motivated them to leave behind career and family to follow him. His words had captured their hearts. He had given them hope that God’s promised Messiah had finally come. Knowing Jesus, hearing him preach, and seeing him heal people and set them free had changed them. So they all gladly chose to spend their lives following in his footsteps.

We admire these first disciples, who made the bold choice to follow Jesus. And of course, we honor the apostles, who carried Jesus’ message to the ends of the earth and became the foundation of the Church. But don’t forget that Jesus also calls us to be “fellow citizens” with Sts. Simon and Jude and “members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

Jesus calls you to himself, just as he called his first disciples. He wants you to be with him and learn from him. Every day you have a choice. As you spend time with him, your heart will be warmed by his love. Your desire to share his love with other people will grow. Little by little, Jesus will shape you into a living stone so that you can do your part to build up the Church.

“Jesus, thank you for calling me to yourself. Use me, Lord, to proclaim your love.”

Ephesians 2:19-22
Psalm 19:2-5
Luke 6:12-16


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