28 October 2008 Feasts of Sts. Simon and Jude
Ephesians 2, 19-22; Psalm 19; Luke 6, 12-16
The Gospel today begins by telling us that Jesus ‘went to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God’. After praying, he called his disciples, and from them, He chose Twelve, whom he called apostles. In other words, before He decided who among the many disciples who followed Him would be leaders, He prayed.
A few days ago, I gave a retreat to UP Christian Life Community (UPCLC). They wanted a silent retreat, even though many of them had not experienced one. During their sharing periods, one of them said that the retreat allowed him to look interiorly while another said that it gave him time to see the bigger picture. Moreover, the prayer periods helped them make decisions about many things in their lives. Just as Jesus brought His concerns to God in prayer, many of those who prayed about their concerns are able to make good decisions in their lives. Often it is good to spend quiet moments before making important resolutions.
But many would ask, “If Jesus made a good decision from his prayer, why did Jesus choose Judas Iscariot “who became a traitor”? To me, Jesus made the right decision in choosing Judas. He had the ability to become a good leader. He had potential in keeping the finances of the group. Remember, he held the purse. There are people who are good at money, there are those, who aren’t. When we elect someone for a position, we judge them according to their qualities and abilities at present. We also judge them using their track record. However, what they will do once in the elected position will be determined by them. In the course of Judas’ many decisions as an apostle, he decided to betray Jesus. It was his decision, not something that was pre-ordained. When we are given a leadership position, we decide whether we would like to become a corrupt or an honest leader. Who we are today is a product of our many previous decisions.
The first reading tells us that our church is built upon the foundations of the apostles, with Jesus as the capstone. Whatever decisions we make at present should be in the spirit of the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. The feast of Sts. Simon and Jude reminds us of this.
There is a wrist band that has the letters, WWJD (What would Jesus do?). This is a good thing to remember: when making decisions, especially in moral cases, we ask ourselves, “WWJD”. And in order to know what Jesus would do in a particular situation, it is good to “go to the mountain to pray”. We would know what Jesus would do if we know Him well.