Jesus needed to make an important decision in today’s gospel, about which of the disciples he should choose to become his Apostles. There were practical decisions to be made. How many Apostles did he need? How should he prepare them for their mission? Jesus was most certainly considering the different traits of his disciples, and thinking about the disciples who were closest to him. Which of the disciples had been with him the longest and shown him the most loyalty? Were there some that he could depend on more than others? Who had the strongest faith in him?
Jesus had a lot of things on his mind, but he didn’t sort through the decision making process all by himself. The example of how Jesus handled this very important decision, is probably the best advice we could ever receive, on the right way to make a good decision in our own lives too.
Why do we go to so many different people, like our family members, friends or coworkers, to ask their opinion on what we should do? The very first place we turn to, should be to turn to God in our prayers, and yet He is often the last one to be consulted.Who is more qualified give us advice though? Who do we know that can give us an honest, unbiased opinion without any ulterior motives of their own? Everyone seems to have their own agenda, or see the world from the perspective of how it affects them, but God does not have any such selfish interests. God our Father, always wants what is best for us. He always wants the right thing for our ultimate good. In other words, God is always on our side.
Did you happen to notice that the gospel today said that Jesus spent the entire night in solitude and prayer? How often do we use the excuse that we don’t have time to pray? Jesus made prayer the first priority in his life. But, prayer is often the last thing on our mind when we have a problem, or need to make a decision about something. We work through it on our own, but everything seems so much harder. We often second guess ourselves, wondering if we are really doing the right thing or not? Or else, our important decisions are often made on the spur of the moment, without consulting God at all in the decision making process. No wonder we aren’t sure if we did the right thing or not, because God wasn’t included in the process.
In today’s gospel, Jesus came down from the mountain after spending the entire night in prayer, and the first thing he did was choose his twelve Apostles. Then a large crowd gathered to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. The gospel said that:
“Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and he healed them all.”
Even though Jesus was both human and divine, it seems like God also strengthened Jesus with extra graces during the solitary periods he spent in prayer. This was true during his prayers in the agony in the garden, but it was also true after John the Baptist was beheaded in prison too. Jesus retreated to the mountain to pray when he learned of his death, and ended up performing two miracles that day. He fed 5,000 men with the five barley loaves and two fish, and after praying alone on the mountain, Jesus walked on the water to join his Apostles in a boat on the lake.
The source of Christ’s power already originated within him, but Jesus received extra strength, grace and support during the solitary times of prayer that he spent with his Father. He didn’t make any major decisions on his own, although he had every right to do so. God the Father guided his decisions, and strengthened him with the grace to accomplish the tasks that lay before him. Will He do no less with us?
We also have the ability to make our own decisions in life, but they turn out so much better when we carefully consider the facts of the situation, and seek God’s guidance first, before we make any decision about it. We need God’s grace and His strength, to see us through the challenges and difficulties we face in life. Without God’s grace, our best laid plans could fall apart if it wasn’t His will to begin with. It is better to start laying our plans, in accordance with His will, right from the start, just like Jesus did in today’s gospel.
Daily Mass Readings:
Ephesians 2: 19-22 / Psalm 19 / Luke 6: 12-16