today's readings are Jonah 3; Psalm 25; 1 Cor. 7: 29-31 and Mk. 1: 14-20
The Lord called – and they answered. Who answered? The fishermen in today’s gospel answered, as did the young Samuel last week’s 1st reading.
The Bible is filled with call stories, stories of people the Lord calls to follow Him and serve Him and His people. What I find fascinating is the response to these calls. Some say yes right away – like the apostles, or from the Old Testament, Isaiah. But there were many others who did their best to avoid responding with a yes when the call came from the Lord. 3 that come to mind right away are Jonah, who was featured in today’s reading, Jeremiah, and Moses. When the call came, they didn’t feel up to it, and had plenty of excuses. For Jeremiah, he said he was too young, he wouldn’t know what to say. For Moses, he wondered if anyone would listen to him, and besides, he had a speech impediment. As for Jonah, his response to the call was to run away! But it comes to God, as the saying goes, “You can run, but you can’t hide”. Afterwards all three had some regrets that they answered, because living out that call would not always be easy, and there would be many challenges. I was like Jeremiah, I had lots of excuses to avoid the call to be a priest – but God didn’t give up on me.
God has called each one of you. When were you first called? Of course, on the day you were conceived. You were also called on the day you were born, and in a very formal way, the day of your baptism. Let’s recall the words spoken when your godparents lit your baptismal candle from the Easter Candle, that great symbol of the resurrected Christ. “Parents and godparents, the light of this candle is meant to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. Your child is called to be a child of the light and keep that flame of faith alive in their heart”. In your baptism you were called by God to live your faith. You were called to come and see and follow Him. And that call to do so has not ceased. So do so even in the ordinary circumstances of your lives, by graciously sharing your gifts and talents and faith with others, making that difference in the world of your family, schools, workplaces, and in a few cases, the whole world. Don’t avoid the call – rather, embrace it – and live it.
Each one of us has a unique calling from God. Will that call ever end? Yes. When the Easter candle is again lit on the day of your funeral.
But having lived out that call, you will then hear a different call from God: Come and see – see Me, the angels and saints, and your loved ones – in the Kingdom of Heaven. And that’s a call we want to hear.