Seventh Sunday Easter - Year B
The Holiest Name
At the Last Supper Jesus revealed that his mission on earth was to teach the name of God. Biblical names were more than sirnames, they identified the person, much as a nickname does today. When you know someone's name, you know who or what they are. In the Old Testament God was called "El Shaddai" (which means "Lord of Thunder") and "Yahweh" (which simply means "I Am.") In other words, God's identity was a mystery that was unfathomable.
Jesus taught that God is a "Father," a parent. Of course, God has no gender but we can not call God "it." Basically God is a parent of the type we might think of--in human terms--as a Father. The point is not to tell us that God has only "male" qualities but that God offers a warm and loving parental relationship to us.
Choosing By Lot
After the death of Judas, the apostles felt that it was necessary to maintain the number 12 in their group. There are various reasons for this, but they probably felt that it had a parallel to the number of the Tribes of Israel. They did not want the successor to Judas to be chosen by a popularity contest, so they selected the replacement by chance.
They started with a set of standards so that it was not a totally random choice. Then they left the final choice to God by either rolling dice or drawing straws. They felt that God would influence the outcome of this final choice. In doing this, they were following a tradition with ancient roots in the bible.
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