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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Difference Between Today and Tomorrow

([Jesus] appointed the twelve:) Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder . . . (St. Mark 3:17).

I contemplated this passage for some time, mulling over the idea that Jesus chose such unlikely characters to become His disciples -- like John and James, the "sons of thunder."

And sons of thunder they were. For example, in St. Luke, chapter 9, Jesus and the Twelve were on their way to Jerusalem, so He sent His disciples ahead to prepare overnight lodging in Samaria, which was on the way. But the Samaritans refused them because Jesus was headed toward Jerusalem. Samaritans and Jews shared a long history of mutual distrust and enmity.

James and John were incensed that the Samaritans had rebuffed their Lord, so they said to Jesus, "Do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?"

Nice guys, huh?

But I think one of the reasons the Lord Jesus selected His disciples was not because of what they were, but because of what they could be. And so, years later the same John who was known as Thunder became known as the disciple of Love. In his first epistle, John uses the word "love" more than 30 times. Here is one such verse: "If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 John 4:20).

And here is another: For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (1 John 3:11).

But what does this all mean for you or me? I think it is this: Who you and I are now are not the same people Jesus knows we can be tomorrow.

And how does that happen? How does one change from what we don't want to be to what we should be? The disciple John kept close to the Lord's side, day by day, year after year, throughout the rest of his life. And in so doing became like Him.

Likewise it will be for us if we do the same.


Denise Fath said...

So true! And such a relief knowing the change that's possible with Jesus. Of course the how is always the biggest question - staying close the Lord is simple but not always easy.

I try to read the Bible every day, go to daily Mass (I feel nothing has had a greater impact on my life than that) and to say the Rosary every day. What about everyone else?

Richard Maffeo said...

Would make a good discussion point. Anyone else want to share what they do?

Joanna said...

That is incredible! Our priest did a Homily on this passage last week and he said, the same thing about the apostles, and I literally mean that. "Not for who they were but who they could be", and the Priest said, all of us should look at people that way in our day to day lives. I remember that very vividly because when I was explaining that to my (non practicing)husband, I told him he had exact quality when it comes to our kids, his staff at work, and people close to him. I believe God looks at us that way all the time, that is why he never gives up on us. And I also believe in going to daily mass, I do scripture reading, AM prayer with my kids/PM prayers, blessing at mealtime, rosary and just during the course of the day I try to stop when a situation present itself in need of prayer or contemplation, or when I feel Jesus has something important to tell me...we Catholics really, really need to start taking our faith very seriously, just look at our world.

Richard Maffeo said...

Thank you, Joanna. I am convinced we so little understand God's love and patience.