Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In these days he went out into the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
If you ever spent a whole night in prayer, you can probably remember why. To stay awake all night and in dialogue with anyone, you have to have a pressing need or a life-changing situation at hand. And that is what Jesus was awake for in the reading in Luke. He was about to chose his disciples, and among them was the traitor.
It might seem that choosing Judas was a mistake. But God does not make mistakes.
Though he was God, Jesus was acting as a man who had to seek the Father’s Will and discern what he knew about people. And Jesus chose very well. As human in their fallen nature as the disciples all were, they went on to follow Jesus, preach the Gospel and suffer martyrdom. All, that is, except Judas.
As much as we consider Judas to be a terrible traitor, without him, a necessary part of Jesus’ Passion would have been missing. He was betrayed, who did no wrong, so that we too could be forgiven when we betray the Lord through our own fault. We can forgive others because Jesus forgave his betrayer. When our hearts are broken by betrayal, we know that Jesus suffered it too.
Intimates have a power to hurt us more deeply than mere acquaintances. Those we have chosen to be near us, those we have nurtured, shared our lives and most precious thoughts with, and sacrificed for, can hurt us most cruelly. Still, we choose to trust others and take the risk of intimacy because Jesus did.
Today, if anyone comes to mind who has been unfaithful to your friendship, has turned on you, or betrayed you, turn to Jesus as he turned to the Father. He was betrayed so that we could see that the scope of human relationships are not the utmost for us but that they are healed or completed only in the forgiveness and power of our loving God.