This Sunday, the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, we hear Isaiah receive his wake-up call from God and his response is: “Here I am, send me!” We hear the Gospel story in which Jesus invites his disciples to become “fishers of men.” They leave all things they have and follow Him. In hearing these two readings we all have the opportunity to compare our own responses to the call of God—and to consider our own personal spiritual wake-up call.
For most of us, it's time for a wake-up call!
I know that I need to wake up as well as anyone even though my “job” is in the church. Our daily routines and the rhythm of the world around us may easily lull us into a spiritual slumber. We begin to “go with the flow,” letting our circumstances dictate how we will feel and what we will do. We need that spiritual alarm clock that cries “Wake up!”, reminding us that drifting our way through life can only lead to disaster, apathy and carelessness. We should consciously think about priorities, consciously plan to resist pressures to conform and actively choose to be people of faith. If we don't wake up, complacency will creep upon us by night, overwhelming our defenses and destroying all that we hold dear—think about how we take so many things for granted... As the news of the day seems to grow worse and worse, we need to shake ourselves from our siestas, remember the things that we have heard in the Scriptures and obey them. And it's not just about knowing, it's about doing.
We might (and should) reflect on our own personal spiritual vocations; our own Communal and spiritual commitment because of these “call” stories today. There is so much to do, so much to be done, so much to learn, and yes, always room for spiritual growth through good works, prayer and praise. The Psalm Response today is: “In the sight of the angels, O Lord, may we sing your praises.” This psalm is one that I have often chosen for funeral liturgies and I believe that truly, this is our goal and our path of life on earth! (It is our goal to ultimately end up with the angels and with God!) This psalm gives us food for thought as we consider our own personal, vocational commitment. I don’t know about you, but I would like to be singing in that heavenly choir!
Here at St. Aidan there are many opportunities for prayer and praise in action now—especially as we prepare for the Season of Lent, and the opportunity this new season will give us to reflect on our choices. As we turn toward Lent, may we all hear God’s wake up call to holiness, and be ready like Isaiah and the Disciples: to admit our sinfulness, to be open to hear God’s call and to have ready our answer: “Yes, Lord!” Wake up!
Just a Note: Some interesting quotes from different sources beyond Scripture about the action of serving others.
“The intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the welfare of others” — The Dalai Lama
“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” — Aristotle
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” — Oscar Wilde
“Only a life lived for others is worth living.” — Albert Einstein
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” — Muhammad Ali
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
— Audrey Hepburn
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown