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(Part 36)


May 14, 2013

Today’s readings:
Acts 1:15-26
John 15:9-17

We made our decision for Christ when we repented and turned to faith in him as Savior and Lord. We chose to follow him. But Jesus says, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (Jn 15:16a). Just like the Twelve, Jesus was the one who chose us, and what we did was to respond. This is a staggering reality. Jesus chose us from all eternity.

Then Jesus appointed us. We are commissioned by Jesus. We are given his marching orders, to carry out his plan. We go in his authority. We are to do his very own work. Finally, we are to go and bear fruit that will remain. God intends to use us to accomplish His divine purpose. Connected to the mind and heart of Jesus, who is the vine, we will bear fruit. This is the fruit of transformation in Christ, leading to eternal life in heaven.

Is it any wonder then that Jesus also says, “so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you” (Jn 15:16b)? When Jesus calls and appoints, he empowers. We are given access to the Father to tap on to the very power of the almighty God. When we act as Jesus did and would, then the Father is looking upon a beloved child, whose requests, if in accordance with His will, He will always grant.

As we do the work of the New Evangelization, we can be assured that we are chosen, appointed and will bear fruit. What a great privilege!

Unfortunately, many are not responding positively to the call. Then there are those who do respond, but who ultimately betray the cause. Such was the case with Judas. “He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.” (Acts 1:17). But he became “the guide for those who arrested Jesus.” (Acts 1:16b). Judas had been chosen by Jesus himself, stayed for some time in his presence, heard his teachings and saw his works, but fell away, shunning “this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” (Acts 1:25). The result for Judas was tragic.

The reality of Jesus’ choice and appointment does not guarantee seamless ministry. God chooses but we need to respond. God appoints but we need to be obedient. God wants us to bear fruit but we need to be faithful and committed.

God chooses us by using human instruments. In the case of Matthias, it was through the Christian community. But notice that the disciples do not do the choosing, but merely discern what they believe to be God’s choice. Thus they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen” (Acts 1:24).

Friend, have you been chosen by Jesus? Will you respond to his call to “become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:22b)?

Will you be a friend of Jesus? Are you aware of what Jesus has done and is continuing to do, in choosing us and sending us forth? Will you remain “a slave (who) does not know what his master is doing” (Jn 15:15a)? Or will you be Jesus’ friend as you obey his command to proclaim the gospel to all? “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (Jn 15:14).

Onward to the New Evangelization!

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