I’m leading a retreat for the priests of the Catholic dioceses of Auckland and Hamilton this week. Today’s Gospel reading was timely for our group; Jesus calling the twelve.

I was reflecting with the group that the twelve Jesus chose to be his intimate friends and closest followers were (to say the least) a pretty unlikely bunch. It is even more remarkable that after His resurrection, when they had proved their unsuitability for the mission, He went to find them again, and RE-called them.

This is a clear sign of the gift of human weakness and failure. When touched by the hand of a forgiving God, what the world sees as weakness, failure and unsuitability becomes divine strength.

Thanks be to God!

You might appreciate this little story. Imagine that Jesus had sent the names of the 12 he intended to choose to a recruiting agency for an “expert” opinion. This could have been the reply he would have received:

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours,
Jordan Management Consultants


“Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time”
by Greg Ogden –
printed in SoJo Mail for 30 October 2003.
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