Sr. Phyllis Jaszkowiak
January 21, 2018
Today’s first and third readings give us two calls and two very different responses.
The first reading is the last half of Jonah’s story. The first half tells of his running away from God’s call to preach to Nineveh – his enemy. Through a storm at sea, being thrown overboard, swallowed by a big fish and being spat out on the shore of Nineveh, God calls again. So as today’s reading says, Jonah reluctantly starts to preach.
In the gospel, Jesus sees two fishermen, calls them, and they immediately follow. Jesus sees two more, calls them, and they immediately follow. Quite a contrast from Jonah.
I have to admit that I have tried to be one who follows immediately, but find myself, like Jonah, sometimes running the other way. However, God doesn’t let any of that stop the calling and having me do what is needed. So in the end, maybe like four years later, I repent and do what God asks of me, even if sometimes reluctantly. At other times I do respond rather quickly to whatever God wants of me. We all have the choice of how and when we respond.
In the Gospel the words Jesus uses are, “Come after me”. Some scholars say this was meant that those called would continue Jesus’ work of bringing the Kingdom of God to fulfillment. This is where we come in.
We are all called to continue the work of Jesus today, in our community, in our country. Jesus’ work of love, compassion, solidarity, peace and justice is the work we are to do as followers of Jesus. We do have the choice of how and when to follow or not.
There are three prerequisites – come to know Jesus intimately and personally, know Jesus’ teachings of compassion, solidarity, peace and justice, and use all the knowledge of today to spread the Kingdom of God in our world.
Our youth, led by Gabe and the Youth Ministry Team, are learning this by the Sunday prayer nights and through experiences of helping others. Through these times of prayer they can experience Jesus personally, and then can go out and act for justice. It is what we all must do, take time for prayer and then act in our world.
In the last presidential election the question was asked, “Do we let our faith inform our politics, or do we let our politics inform our faith?” I would hope our faith leads us as we discern whom and for what to vote. For it is through our faith, our relationship with Jesus and our actions, that our world can be changed for the better.
This past week I have reread some of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches. By his faith, he led our country to be more inclusive and to real equality of persons.
We are now at another such point in our country. Shall we let racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, love of money and power rules us? Or shall we let our faith of love, compassion, inclusion, solidarity, peace and justice rule us? Shall we become Jesus’ disciples and follow him, or just shrug it off and pretend we didn’t hear the call, or pretend there is nothing left to do?
Jesus calls us all to follow him, to be his voice, his hands, his feet, his presence in our world. Take a few seconds to look at the people around you. See Christ in them and know that each one, in their own way is doing the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to us. There are those who visit the sick and shut ins, those who care for elderly people, those who work for St. Vincent DePaul, those who work for affordable housing, those who work for fair immigration laws, those who work against racism and all the other isms, those who welcome all into our community.
Let us all resolve, then, to follow Jesus, hear his call, come to know him deeply, intimately, and do the work Jesus asks of us, and bring the Kingdom of God alive in our world.