Today on this feast of St. Matthias the Apostle (chosen by lot by the early Church to replace Judas Iscariot), we have the gospel passage from John (15:9-17) in which Jesus says this to his apostles gathered at the Last Supper. “He goes on to say to them, ‘It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.’”
Jesus Christ. Son of God. Son of the Most High. Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Redeemer. Savior. Lamb of God…
This Jesus calls us FRIENDS. And He took the initiative when He chose us. A call to deep friendship and companionship in the work of His Kingdom. We are invited to collaborate and continue His mission. He has given us the gift of His Spirit to enable us and make this possible. This is Jesus’ plan and desire for us. Given the directness and clarity of His words, can there be any doubt?
There are among us those who frequently compare themselves to others and find themselves wanting. There are those among us who are discouraged by their sinfulness and not readily aware of their inherent goodness. There are those among us who fear being judged as being “proud” and therefore keep their talents and God-given abilities under wraps in the name of “humility”. “Oh Lord, I am not worthy”, they feel.
Is the Evil One, as Ignatius might see things, thwarting Jesus’ plans and desires for us under the guise of seemingly “holy” thoughts and feelings?
The following is a “memo” that “Jesus received one day” that offers a refreshing view of Jesus’ assessment and judgment of character that might help us to see Jesus’ invitation more clearly.
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken a series of tests, and we have not only run the results through our computer, but we have also conducted an in-depth interview with each of them by our staff psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant. The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully. It is the staff’s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept and we would highly recommend that you continue your search for persons with more experience, higher qualifications, and greater managerial abilities.
-Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and is given to fits of temper.
-Andrew simply has no qualities of leadership.
-The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interests above company loyalty and are quite boisterous.
-Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale among the ranks.
-It is also our duty to inform you that the Better Business Bureau of Greater Jerusalem has received reports on Matthew regarding questionable business practices.
-James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings and both demonstrate attitude problems which would present difficulty in their dealings with the public.
-However, one of your candidates shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, responsible, and is not afraid to take the initiative. We recommend Judas Iscariot as the most qualified of all of your prospective candidates.
The Jerusalem Management Consulting Firm
The gospels make very clear that Jesus could see deep into people’s hearts. He knew Judas would betray Him and Peter would deny Him. He already was totally aware of the contents of this “memo”.
When Jesus addresses us as friends and asks us to bear fruit, He knows exactly what He’s doing and to WHOM he is speaking.