1) Opening prayer
ruler of all things in heaven and on earth,
listen favourably to the prayer of your people,
and grant us your peace in our day.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Mark 3,13-19
Jesus went up onto the mountain and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils. And so he appointed the Twelve, Simon to whom he gave the name Peter, James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom he gave the name Boanerges or 'Sons of Thunder'; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him.
• The Gospel today describes the acceptance and mission of the twelve apostles. Jesus begins with two disciples to whom he adds other two (Mk 1, 16-20). Gradually, the number increased. Luke tells us that he called the 72 disciples so as to go on mission with him (Lk 10, 1).
• Mark 3, 13-15: The call for a two-fold mission. Jesus calls whom he wants and they go with him, they follow him. Then, “He appointed Twelve, to be his companions and to be sent out to proclaim the message, with power to drive out devils”. Jesus calls them for a double purpose, for a two-fold mission: (a) To be with Him, that is, to form the community of which He, Jesus, is the centre. (b) To pray and to have power to drive out devils, that is, to announce the Good News and to fight against the power of evil that ruins the life of people and alienates persons. Mark says that Jesus went up to the mountain and while he was there, he called the disciples. The call means climbing up. In the Bible to climb up the mountain recalls the mountain that Moses climbed and had the encounter with God (Ex 24, 12). Luke says that Jesus went up to the mountain, prayed all night and, the following day, he called the disciples. He prayed to God so as to know whom to choose (Lk 6, 12-13). After having called them, Jesus makes the election official and creates a more stable group of twelve persons in order to give more consistency to the mission; and also to signify the continuity of God’s project. The twelve Apostles of the New Testament are the successors of the twelve Tribes of Israel.
• Thus, the first community of the New Testament comes into being, is born, a model community, which gradually grows around Jesus during the three years of his public activity. At the beginning they are only four (Mk 1, 16-20). Shortly afterwards the community increases in the measure in which the mission is developing, extending in the towns and villages of Galilee. There is a time in which they do not even have the time to eat or to rest (Mk 3, 2). This is why Jesus was concerned about giving the disciples some rest (Mk 6, 31) and to increase the number of missionaries (Lk 10, 1). In this way, Jesus tries to maintain the two-fold objective of the call: to be with Him and to go on mission. The community which is formed in this way around Jesus has three characteristics which belong to his nature: it is a forming, missionary community, and is inserted among the poor of Galilee.
• Mark 3, 16-19: The list of names of the twelve apostles. Immediately after, Mark gives the names of the twelve: Simon to whom he gave the name of Peter; James and John the sons of Zebedee, to whom he gave the name of Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him. The majority of these names come from the Old Testament. For example, Simon is the name of one of the sons of the Patriarch Jacob (Gn 29, 33). James is the same as Jacob (Gn 25, 26). Judas is the name of the other son of Jacob (Gn 35, 23). Matthew also bore the name of Levi (Mk 2, 14), who was the other son of Jacob (Gn 35, 23). Of the twelve Apostles, seven have a name that comes from the time of the Patriarchs. Two have the name of Simon; two are called James; Two Judas; one Levi. There is only one who has a Greek name: Philip. It would be like in a family where all have names of ancient times and only one has a modern name. This reveals the desire that people have to remake history, from the beginning! It is worth while to think about the names which we give our children today. Like them, each one of us is called by God by our name.
4) Personal questions
• To be with Jesus and to go on Mission is the two-fold purpose of the Christian community. How do you assume this commitment in the community to which you belong?
• Jesus called the twelve disciples by their name. You, I, we, all of us exist because God calls us by our name. Think about this!
5) Concluding prayer
Show us, Lord, your faithful love,
grant us your saving help.
His saving help is near for those who fear him,
his glory will dwell in our land. (Ps 85,7.9)