Scripture:Now during those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James, son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)
Reflection: If Jesus does anything more than eat in Luke’s gospel, it is pray. The Lukan Jesus is found at prayer before he is baptized, in deserted places, before he questions his disciples about his identity, before his transfiguration, before he teaches his disciples how to pray, on the Mount of Olives, after he is crucified, and before he dies. He also prays before choosing twelve of his disciples whom he named apostles. In other words, in Lukan understanding, prayer leads to the right decision.
Lukan disciples are ambassadors of Jesus’s mission, also serving as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. In order to emphasize this role, the author of Luke’s gospel, like the author of Matthew’s gospel before him, softens the material found in Mark’s gospel. The Sons of Thunder moniker for James and John is removed. Simon (not Peter) is designated as a Zealot, instead of a Cananaean, to indicate his zealousness as a disciple of Jesus. Mark’s Thaddaeus is replaced with Luke’s Judas, son of James. And Mark’s Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, becomes Luke’s Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
The focus of the author of Luke’s gospel is clearly on prayer, an important aspect of a spirituality of mission. Those who are sent as ambassadors and judges are delegated with prayer. Just as prayer permeates the narrative of the events involving Jesus, so prayer should permeate the events of a modern disciples of Jesus. Such prayer is not about the person deciding what to do and then telling God what he needs to do. The prayer demonstrated by Jesus consists of asking God what he wants done, then doing it. In a culture awash in individual power, Luke’s gospel presents the antidote of God’s power. A spirituality of mission begins by seeking God’s will through prayer, because it is God’s mission.
Journal/Meditation: What role does prayer play in your life?
Prayer: Father, your Son Jesus taught his disciples to pray that your name be hallowed and that your kingdom come. Grant that I may know your mission for me and willingly carry it out. All praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; you are one God, forever and ever. Amen.