Sunday, January 4, 2009


12 Days of Christmas, 12 months of the year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 sons of Jacob the patriarch, 12 Apostles...

I was thinking about Pentecost last night (a.k.a. "meditating on the mystery of Pentecost"), trying to come at it from a different angle. I always envision Mary and the Apostles, but there were over a hundred other people gathered in that upper room (Acts 1:15)! So I imagined the reaction of that crowded room, experiencing the release of the Holy Spirit in charisms like tongues and prophecy. They were excited, prayer pouring out their hearts to God in charismatic prayer. Inevitably though, their eyes turned toward the Apostles, "the Twelve" as they were known in the early Church.

It was only natural that they should look to them for guidance in that moment. Let me explain: The nation of Israel, its 12 tribes, were descended from the 12 sons of Jacob (grandson of Abraham). Those 12 were the fathers of the nation. So for Jesus to single out 12 of His disciples to form an inner circle, to be "Apostles"or those "sent," it would have been recognized as monumental. Jesus, the Messiah, was appointing them as the foundation of His renewed Israel. They would be the fathers of the nation! Of course all of the disciples gathered on Pentecost would have turned their eyes to them.

Fathers of the nation. This truth is transmitted by us every time we refer to a priest, bishop, or pope as father. At ordination they were entrusted with the task of making present the fatherly care of the The Twelve. Putting it like that, I need to pray for them more - that's gotta be one tough job. Come Holy Spirit!

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