Let Us Find Our Place in His Company
Jesus called the Twelve apostles to be with him, to witness his miracles, hear his preaching, and share in his saving mission.
These Twelve formed a special bond with the Lord, and because of their relationship with Jesus, they formed a strong community with one another as well.
But Jesus did not call them to be a clique or a club. The Apostles had a unique and unrepeatable experience as eyewitnesses of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But they were also given a mission to hand on what they had received. Jesus told his Apostles, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:9)
Jerusalem, fine. That’s the heart of the Jewish faith. Judea, fine. That’s the southern region of the Holy Land, all around Jerusalem. Samaria. Um, wait. Samaria? Remember the story of the good Samaritan? He was the exception. Samaritans, by and large, were not considered the “good guys” from the Jewish side of the story. The Samaritan woman in John’s Gospel was shocked that Jesus would talk with her. “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans. (John 4:9)
Far from being a club, the Apostles were meant to be witnesses – to friend and enemy, neighbor and stranger. The “narrow way” that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel is not an exclusive club. Jesus himself is the narrow way. Only by following him does any one of us come to the fullness of life. And he offers this way of discipleship to everyone.
Jesus sends us as his witnesses. As Christians, we really have no strangers or enemies. Only a wide mission field, entrusted to us by the Lord: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.
May the Lord give us each the grace not to be jealous of our special place with him, but eager to invite everyone to find their place as well in his company. May he give us the grace to rejoice as we see his word fulfilled in our day: “And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29)