Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles
1st Reading: Eph 2:19-22
Gospel: Luke 6:12-16
Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom he called apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Our major seminary used to own a dog trained not to eat till after the prayer before meals is over. The dog’s name was Carmo. Unlike other dogs Carmo would sit down and prayerfully wait until the prayer leader (a human being, of course) has concluded the ritual with the word “amen”.
If by appropriate training a dog’s instinct can be restrained until prayer is over there is no reason why people could not be formed into prioritizing prayer. After all humans, unlike dogs, have the intelligence to understand that prayer is important. It is enough to revisit Jesus’ attitude towards prayer to appreciate its value. Consider how Jesus prioritized it when it was time to make the major decision of choosing his Apostles. It was such an important decision because he was choosing leaders for his Church. He did not make the choice till after he had spent a whole night of prayer.
Consider the advantages one gets from praying before making important decisions. God, being up there, sees the broader picture. Moreover, his wisdom is far superior than the wisdom of the most intelligent person alive. Of this wisdom St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:19).
Some people refuse to pray because they don’t want to be guided by God. They are not happy with his ways and even criticize him openly for mismanaging the world. They are wrong. God’s ways appear foolish to some not because God is suffering from cerebral poverty but because man can only go that deep in trying to fathom the wisdom of God. Humanly speaking, Jesus’ choice of Apostles was far from wise. Until now we still can’t see the point why he handpicked a public sinner (tax collector), and a traitor (Judas Iscariot). Yes, that is how dull we are. That is why it is so dangerous for us to be left alone in making important decisions in life. In every step we make in our lives it is best that we pray for God’s guidance “so that our faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor 2:5).
But we shouldn’t pray as Carmo did. He was actually trained to recognize the word “Amen” as his signal to start eating. In all those years his heart was not in the prayer recited for him. How demeaning if we do not do any better! – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, teach us how to pray, for left to ourselves even our wisest decisions could lead us to damnation. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: STS. SIMON AND JUDE, Apostles. These could be the patrons of all anonymous people. Both of them have difficulty even in getting their names remembered! Simon is chiefly known as not Simon Peter! The gospel writers themselves call him by different names: Luke calls him “Simon the Zealot,” Matthew and Mark call him “Simon the Canaanite.” Nothing more that that is recorded of him! It’s a slim CV! His companion Jude is likewise almost anonymous. There is difficulty about his name too: John calls him “Judas—not the Iscariot!” Luke calls him “Jude the brother of James,” Matthew calls him “Thaddeus.” Nothing is said of him in any of the gospels except that he asked a question, “Lord, what is all this about?” (Jn 14:22). The rest is silence.