A Great Change, a Graduation

A Great Change, a Graduation May 12, 2017


My mother was at the School Feast on the last day of classes. It was a glorious party as we finished our first year educating kindergarten through college, ages 4 through 26. Mom, as wise women often do, had come with a good word. She pointed me to a passage in the Bible:

12 And it came to pass in those days, that he (Jesus) went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God. And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles): Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, And Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.

Jesus had a time of concentrated prayer and out of that prayer came something grand. He took his group of students and called at least some of them to be apostles. They went from students to those who are sent. Of course, they also remained disciples, nobody ever gets done learning, but they now were men on a mission.

Why these particular disciples? We can be sure it was not because they were the best. How can one measure who is best? People are too complicated for such measures. Some people are better at some things than others, but there are so many things! No individual is best at all the things!

In fact, one betrayed him. I never forget that fact. Graduation, elevation, getting sent, is not a forever victory. Judas was selected and Judas used his role to steal money, imagine the justifications he must have used, and then to betray Jesus for more money. He was not a hardened man, he regretted what he had done as soon as he saw the consequences. He killed himself. Judas is a stark warning of the lure of money and the dangers of being one of those sent.

Jesus took twelve and gave them a chance. They were willing and so the God-man sent them on a mission. All of them failed at times, one failed utterly. They were called by grace, empowered by faith, and that faith did mighty works. The Roman Empire ignored them, then persecuted them, sometimes fiercely, mostly lazily, until Rome found herself Christian.

IMG_0214_opt (1)Caesar faced the God-inspired apostles and Caesar lost. Caesar always loses, even if he tricks himself out in the robes of the church. Why?

Only disciples are chosen as apostles and Caesar is not a student of any man. 

We are, none of us, going to be one of this historic twelve, but there were other calls. His disciples included some that would become deacons, others that would be great teachers, and a few others doctors who served the poor without charge. Some are called like Saint Nina to great works equal to those of the apostles. She was a disciple who became the mother and teacher of an entire Christian nation. Some of us like some of our brothers and sisters in Syria today will be called to martyrdom and say cast down the tyrants by gaining the crown of immortality.

None of us is forgotten. All of us are sent from prayer and discipleship to service with a message: the Kingdom of Heaven is here! We must not love money, power, devils, or stuff. We can have wisdom, virtue, and joy. 

Thank God and thank you, Mom.


Dedicated to the graduates of The Saint Constantine School, 2017.

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