Introduction: our second ‘Lectio divina’ follows the topic of the previous month which was dealt with discipleship in the gospel of Mark 1:14-16. This time the text is from the same Gospel chapter 3:13-19, the selection of the twelve apostles, their formation and their mission.
[Choose a quiet place, free of noise; sit in the most comfortable position, light a candle if you wish and begin with a prayer]
God our Father
Grant us the grace
To know your Son
Deeply, to love him unconditionally
And to follow him faithfully
And that the Holy Spirit may assist us to proclaim
The joyful message of Jesus Christ our Saviour and Redeemer.
Steps for the ‘LECTIO DIVINA’
- Read the Gospel of Mark 3:13-19: read it slowly and listen attentively to the scriptures with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you? [spend 2 min of silence]
- Reflect: read the passage again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you. [spend 2 min of silence]
- Respond: read the passage again and this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this passage lead me to ask from the Lord? [spend 2 min of silence]
- Stay with the Word: read the passage a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Don’t say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying? [spend 5 min of silence]
- Take now the word, sentence or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day.
Concluding the ‘Lectio Divina’ pray the ‘Our Father’…
The Text Mark 3:13-19: He now went up into the hills 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 preach, with power to cast out devil. 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’; then Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the man who was to betray him.
Central Message: Jesus summoned those he wanted to be his companions and to be sent out to preach with power.
- “Jesus summoned those he wanted”: Jesus went to a lonely place, up in the hills, to pray. Luke says that Jesus prayed all night and the next day he called the disciples (Lk 6:12-13). Some commentators say that Jesus always prayed when making important decisions but in dialogue with his Father, and rightly so because he was choosing those who would continue his mission. He called only those “he wanted”, this indicates that the call depended entirely on Jesus, made at any time and any place to any person. The response depends entirely on the disciple without delay. But notice that He chose neither the best men in terms of abilities nor in terms of holiness. They were ordinary men perhaps illiterate and sinful, like you and me. But they were determined to follow the one who changed their life for ever.
- “To be his companions”: this indicates that Jesus calls his disciples to be with him in a blessed intimacy of relationship. They are chosen to share his friendship, “I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father” (Jn 15:15-16). So his friendship will facilitate their formation nourished by his word and teaching; it is a formative moment to learn the mysteries of the kingdom and the demands of discipleship. Jesus prepares his disciples by being with him creating a more stable group to give consistency to his mission and continuity of God’s project. He designates “Twelve” and symbolically founds the twelve tribes of the new Israel, the Church – the new people of God.
- “To be sent out”: the whole issue of being with Jesus is to be ready for the mission. St Teresa of Calcutta said ‘in order to talk to people about Jesus you need first to spent time talking with him’. That is the dynamics of his discipleship: being with Jesus (praying) and be sent out (be among people). Jesus empowers his Apostles to carry out the mission of the Kingdom of God: preaching and to casting out devils. It is by God’s Grace that they received their competence of their mission. Let us just remember that most of them were illiterate and to be able to preach they needed God’s assistance.
It is significant the change of names in Mark’s Gospel: Simon is given the name of Peter (in Greek petra=rock, foundation); James and John are given the name of Boanerges (sons of thunder); In Jewish tradition the new names given signified the acquisition in life of a new position or status.
- Some question for reflection:
- If Jesus calls you today to follow him how would it be your response?
- What objections would you have to answer to Jesus’ call?
- What would you ask when you meet him?
- Concluding prayer: ‘Our Father’…