In today’s Gospel, Jesus literally has a mountaintop experience that results in calling twelve apostles, including Saints Simon and Jude (Judas son of James) whose feast we celebrate today. We all occasionally have “mountaintop” experiences, that is, those times carved out for a profound encounter with God—retreat, World Youth Day, etc. The “mountaintop” provides a boast, or even a new start, for a deep and personal relationship to God.

After Jesus calls the twelve apostles he sets out to nurture a deep and personal relationship with them. Today’s Gospel contains one of the “mountaintops” in that journey. Other days, we find Jesus asking the apostles, “Do you still not understand?”

In between our “mountaintops” we have the ordinary days in our relationship with God—joy and sadness, gratitude and anger, near and far off. Think of your human relationships; are not all these things a part of them? So, too, with God.

—Brad Held, S.J., a Jesuit of the Wisconsin province, is currently a theology student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He has just come from 3 years of teaching at Red Cloud Indian School on the Holy Rosary Jesuit Mission in Pine Ridge, SD.