Called by Divine Grace

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.
(Mark 3:13-19)

Scripture Study

3:13 went up Reflects Exod 24:1–11, where Moses summons Israel’s tribal leaders to join him on Mount Sinai.

3:15 authority to drive out demons A key sign of the presence of God’s kingdom and Jesus’ deliverance of humanity (1:21–28).

3:16 Peter The Greek word for Peter, petros, means “rock.” Paul refers to Peter with the Aramaic form of this name, kephas (e.g., Gal 1:18), suggesting that Jesus originally gave him this name in Aramaic (the primary language of Jesus and His disciples).

3:17 Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder” Mark includes what is presumably the original Semitic form of James and John’s new name. It is unclear why Jesus calls them this, but it may be because of their reputation as strong-willed people (compare Matt 20:20–28).

3:18 Matthew Since Levi the tax collector is not listed here, this seems to be a reference to him. James the son of Alphaeus Possibly the brother of Levi the tax collector (see 2:14). the Cananean This title serves to distinguish Simon from Simon Peter. While most translations have “Zealot” here, some follow a manuscript that reads “Cananean.” The two words are similar in Greek.

3:19 Iscariot The meaning of this epithet is uncertain. It could be a version of the Hebrew phrase ish qeriyyoth, meaning “the man from Kerioth,” referring to a town in Judaea. Alternatively, it could be an Aramaic slur, ishqarya’, meaning “the false one.”

Scripture Reflection

He called to him those whom he desired”: God wants to show us that calling, vocation, is an initiative of God. This is particularly true in the case of the apostles, which is why Jesus could tell them, later on, that “you did not choose me, but I chose you” (Jn 15:16). Those who will have power and authority in the Church will not obtain this because first they offer their services and then Jesus accepts their offering: on the contrary, not through their own initiative and preparation, but rather by virtue of divine grace, would they be called to the apostolate.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.