In many ways, my favorite evangelist is Mark. His gospel is beautifully stripped down to the bare bones. Today’s gospel, in which Jesus calls his twelve apostles, is a perfect example.
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.
Notice that Mark doesn’t include any backstory about any of these men, and doesn’t rank them in order of importance. He simply identifies them, and also identifies Judas as the betrayer. His story is gospel in the raw. Mark leaves it to others to make judgments about the apostles. This approach helps us to appreciate that all of us participates in God’s plan of bringing the reality of Jesus as the Christ to others. It doesn’t matter what gifts we have or don’t have, each of us is called by name to witness to Jesus.