Jesus traveled from place to place, healing people and preaching to them about God.
There were some people who liked to hear him speak so much that they decided to follow him wherever he traveled.
There also were some people Jesus met in his travels whom he specifically invited to be his followers. One such person was a fisherman named Simon Peter whom Jesus had seen fishing in the Lake of Gennesaret. So the Lord asked Simon Peter to give up being a fisherman and follow him.
“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men,” Jesus told Simon Peter.
One day, after he had preached in the synagogue and healed a man with a withered hand, Jesus decided to get away from everyone for a little while. He had a very important decision to make about his followers, and he wanted to be alone to talk to God about it.
So he went to a mountain to think and pray about which of his followers he would ask to become his Twelve Apostles and help him in his ministry.
He stayed at the mountain all night praying to God, then called his followers in the morning.
He gathered everyone around him and then chose his apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot.
After choosing his apostles, Jesus ministered to a great crowd of people who had gathered around him. He healed people who had diseases or who were possessed by demons.
Then, he raised his eyes toward his followers and preached to them.
He explained that those who have a hard life on earth are very blessed.
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man,” Jesus said.
“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!” Jesus added. “Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.”
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Where did Jesus go to pray?
2. What big decision did he have to make?
Throughout the Bible, ordinary, imperfect people were called to do God’s work and spread his word.
In the Old Testament, for example, God called Moses to speak to the Egyptian Pharaoh and persuade him to release the Israelites from slavery. Moses, however, had a very hard time talking. So God told Moses to speak through his brother, Aaron.
The prophet Jonah ran away when God asked him to tell the sinful people of Nineveh to repent or have their city destroyed. Jonah hated Nineveh so much that he was willing to disobey God in the hopes that Nineveh would not be spared.
In the New Testament, Jesus called Simon Peter to be one of his apostles. It was Simon Peter who denied Jesus three times before the Lord died on the cross.
Jesus also called Matthew to be one of his apostles, even though he was a tax collector who was hated by many people.
Another of Jesus’ apostles, Thomas, is remembered as the one who doubted that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. He demanded to see Jesus and feel the Lord’s wounds before he would believe.
And Saul, a Jew who hated Christians and persecuted them, was called by Jesus to spread his word. Saul repented of his evil ways and was baptized. During the rest of his ministry, he was known as the apostle Paul.
St. Benen’s father was a chieftain in fifth-century Ireland. The family was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick.
Benen was especially influenced by the Gospel and begged to follow St. Patrick. St. Patrick said yes, and Benen became the saint’s closest disciple.
Benen, who would eventually become St. Patrick’s successor, is credited with being the first to evangelize the people in counties Clare and Kerry.
We honor him on Nov. 9.