A story is told of seminarians who asked a professor to choose a Scripture verse to print at the bottom of their class picture. Evidently the professor didn’t think too highly of this group, because the verse he suggested was John 11:37. When the seminarians opened their Bibles, they were distressed that John 11:37 says, “Jesus wept.”
One wonders if the professor would have chosen this same verse for a class portrait of the first twelve apostles, whose appointment by the Lord we heard in today’s gospel. At times, they were certainly a less-than-impressive group of people. They frustrated Jesus because they often didn’t “get it.” Simon Peter could be hot-tempered and cowardly. James and John were vengeful and proud. Thomas had his doubts. And then of course, there was Judas, the greedy betrayer.
However, all this should remind us that the Lord uses less-than-perfect people to do his work, spread his gospel, build his kingdom, and be his friends. This was true of the Twelve apostles. And it’s certainly true of us.
This can console and encourage us, because sometimes we look at ourselves and think: “Why on earth would God choose me?” The truth is, all of us are bundles of imperfections, weaknesses, and sins. Yet Jesus calls us as we are and uses us as we are. Yes, he invites us to greater holiness and gives us the grace to grow into his image. But he doesn’t wait for us to be perfect in order to make us his servants. If Jesus used only perfect people, not too much would get done, because it would be just he and his Mother. That’s why, as the old slogan goes, “Jesus doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called.” He qualified the apostles, and eleven of them became saints! And that’s his plan for us, too.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/070611.shtml