Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Jerusalem Idol"

Can't you just see it?  Ryan Seacrest standing between Judas Barsabbas Justus and Matthias.  Matthias and Justus singing with Lionel Richie and Queen and Kiss to prove their value?

Today's First Reading tells the story of how the early Church replaced Judas Iscariot amongst the Apostles.  But first.............
AN INTERESTING POINT HERE:  Remember the timeline here - Judas left Jesus and the Apostles on Holy Thursday.  Jesus rose and spent forty days being seen by everyone, and yet never sought to replace Judas Himself.  Jesus picked the original twelve, and certainly if, within those forty days after the Resurrection, He had chosen someone and told the Apostles "This one will replace Judas", they would have accepted it without question.  But the Lord didn't do it.  So already, within days of the Ascension, the eleven understood that it was their responsibility.  Jesus let them do what He called them to do, and it's what the Church has continued to do since then.
So the task is before them: replacing Judas Iscariot.  Peter lays down the qualifications (someone who was with Jesus from His Baptism until His Ascension) as well as the job description (to become a witness with the other Apostles)  Note the word for "witness" in the Greek, μάρτυρα ("martura" - yes, I could have just spelled it in English, but I love using the gadgets on my computer), from which we get "martyr".  The Apostles knew that that no one could properly do this task well if they hadn't spent time with Jesus.

So, what about it?  Are we "with" Jesus?  Do we spend time with Him?  Do we know about His life?  Do we know who His friends were?  Have we met His mother?  Have we done any research about Him, perhaps by reading what others have written about Him (take your pick, anything from St. Paul's Letters to Pope Benedict's recent "Jesus of Nazareth")?  Would we have made the cut?

But even then, the reading shows us that the resumé is not enough. Even after the choice is narrowed down to two, the Apostles needed to pray about it.  So it's not just "booksmarts", but also asking for God's input.  If we want to be "with" Jesus, if we want to know Him, if we want to keep His commandments and if we want to be able to love one another like St. John tells us in the second reading, then we need to dedicate some time each day to praying.

Well, it's 10 in the morning and I'm already sweaty.  I hate humidity. Genesis 1 says that God separated the waters (moisture) from the heavens (air). What is humidity except water in the air?  See?  It's just not of God; the Bible backs me up on that.


Jeffrey Pinyan said...

Re: humidity, very clever. :)

I'm just hoping for some impressive thunderstorms with an entertaining lightning display.

NCSue said...

Thank you for making the point that Jesus could have (but didn't) make the decision about who should be appointed to take the place of Judas. I'd not thought of that.

Isn't it amazing how, the more we read the Bible, the more this sort of insight appears... even in places where we've "been" before in Scripture?