God wants us – no matter what!
The Gospel today is so beautiful (Mk 3:13-19). Christ called His twelve disciples because He WANTED them.
The twelve became His disciples not because they had earned their place. They were not the smartest, the most eloquent or the best. They were not even all the most loyal of men. One betrayed Him and 10 others deserted Him and His Blessed Mother during His Passion and Death. Only one of them stayed with Christ during His Passion and Death, and he – John the Beloved – was a teenager at the time!
Yet, knowing these men and seeing them for what they were – with the past mistakes and future failings – Christ as God the Son, wanted them all anyway.
Never before have I really reflected on this DESIRE of Christ. Yet today – perhaps inspired by the Holy Spirit through prayers of gratitude for my beautiful baby niece – a million connections came to mind in a sudden flash of light.
Christ is GOD… as in THE ONE TRUE GOD. He is Perfect Man and Perfect God. Through the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Christ is the Infinite Almighty Creator of the Universe expressed as the Person of God the Son.
How much we pray to God! And what is prayer? Prayer is talking to God. We talk to Him in thoughts, words and deeds. The more we talk to God, the closer we get to Him.
Some people (and all the Saints) devote their entire Earthly lives to building a relationship with God and becoming closer to Him through prayer.
Those chosen twelve, the disciples, were WITH God because Christ WANTED them.
They knew Him intimately. They lived with Him, they ate with Him, they travelled with Him, they spoke with Him, they laughed with Him, they cried with Him. They knew how He liked His breakfast, and what His favourite food was. They knew how his smile changed when He was tired and when His feet were sore from walking. They knew when He was coming down with a cold. They knew what made Him laugh and what made Him cry.
Christ went into their homes physically and they into His. He kissed them and their families hello and goodbye and they kissed Him. They were so close to GOD HIMSELF. And GOD HIMSELF WANTED them!
Imagine Christ listening to Simon Peter every time he promised to protect Him and follow Him even to the ends of the Earth – even to the point of death. Imagine Christ’s love! It is unimaginable! Christ did not mock Saint Peter’s zeal. He did not criticise him. He did not berate him. He did not call him a coward or a hypocrite or ungrateful. Instead, he simply LOVED him and accepted him. Knowing full well that Simon Peter would fail dismally!
And Saint Peter was not the only disciple to fall short of his ambitions for Christ. Others too lost sight of God at times despite having lived with Him. And yet… Saint Thomas – who doubted the Risen Lord – was loved for his scepticism, because Christ could see faith in that too!
But today, in my reflections, the disciple who most fascinated me is Judas Iscariot – the Betrayer.
Imagine Christ laughing at his jokes and listening to his opinions. Imagine Christ eating with Judas and drinking with him. Imagine him relying on Judas to do various tasks – arranging accommodation, spending money, collecting supplies. Imagine the infinite love required to LOVE one’s betrayer FOR YEARS… knowing of the betrayal to come. Christ loved Judas the Betrayer even knowing that he would be damned for the sin of despair and despite it being better for him to never have been born!
Imagine how much LOVE Christ is capable of if He was able to embrace the viper to His breast.
Lucky for me.
For I am no better than Judas. I also know God through my faith and the sacraments. And yet I too sin again and again and again.
However, even knowing the infinite sins that I will visit upon Him, God loves me perfectly and more unimaginably than words could ever say – despite everything.
How do I know this?
Because Christ WANTED Judas the Betrayer – when He could have chosen anyone to be close to Him, even knowing what Judas would do… still He wanted Judas.
Lucky for me!
Now I know that God wants me too! I really must just try a little harder and sin a little less. And when I can see God standing there just a breath away – how hard could that really be?
For with prayer, everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.