This path is not always easy. Like Samuel last weekend in that First Reading, we may hear God’s call to live a different existence but not recognize it. We may need someone like Eli or John the Baptist to cause us to stop and listen, or we may need some personal experience to open our eyes and ears to what’s going on around us and to God’s presence in our midst. We may need to experience our own moment of conversion—a personal epiphany—about what it means to answer the call to holiness and the ways of God. Since God can speak to us anywhere, in any form, ‘The Call’ doesn’t have to be a lightning bolt or a ghostly apparition or a descending dove. It may be something we see in the news, someone we meet in our day, some cross that enters our lives unexpectedly. I think it is mostly, however, about our own willingness to stop, listen and discern in order to follow the right path—God’s path.
When that moment speaks to us, in whatever form it may take, we begin to see the moral imperative—the moral necessity—to respect the rights and dignity of all human persons (no exceptions), and God’s Creation and His plan for all His children. That is when we know that our only choice really, is to live a different way: in holiness, in a new life in Christ which sometimes—mostly—is counter-cultural in our society. This is not an easy path to choose and live...
Fr. Kevin suggested a simple prayer at night before sleeping in his homily last weekend, but maybe at the start of any given day it is not a bad idea to pray for a fresh touch of God's grace to keep you sane and at peace for whatever crosses may lie ahead. Or maybe pray not to live in the past, licking old wounds, or nursing grudges. (Those things will drive you crazy and steal your peace!) Or pray instead for the ability to focus on the positive, honorable, and upright; for discernment to recognize these attributes in all situations we encounter.
Jesus continues to speak to us today, asking us to “come and see;” to leave behind our nets of sin made of our prejudices, fears, greed and lusts—and to follow His path unencumbered by them. When we truly listen we will find that life-giving powerful love of God in the actions of ordinary people doing good for each other every chance they get to do so. In the Gospel today we hear another story of Jesus’ call to all, and the response of those Disciples. Our own reply to God’s call is to imitate them and to also follow the Lord: to repent and turn from sin to salvation; to be wholly God’s in all things, and to live the Kingdom here on earth every day. In allowing God to teach us to live in His way you will reflect the image of our God into the world. You will think sane thoughts about your own worth and dignity. You will treat others as you would like to be treated. Be true to your commitments. Give your best to every task, and try to spread some joy in our world. That is a path worth following…
Keep singing in your hearts!
Just a Note: As I write this article it is Martin Luther King Day. In reflecting on King’s message for peaceful protest and justice for all, I thought these hymns appropriate for listening and reflecting on our historical crosses and our current ones. These two hymns are also contained in our St. Aidan Journeysongs hymnal.
Lift Every Voice and Sing: https://youtu.be/3ef_76FK4PM
Precious Lord, Take My Hand: https://youtu.be/iuhUPjuIi70