for Sunday, February 7, 2016
This Sunday we reflect on how Jesus calls people to follow Him - and we also recognize that He is calling us. The call of the Lord comes in many ways: through dramatic inner visions as in the call of Isaiah or through the simple actions that we hear in the Gospel today - which are still miraculous - or through the preaching of others as we hear in the second reading, from the First Letter to the Corinthians. And there are many other ways as well in which a person can begin to sense the Divine at work in life and then in one's personal life. For many of us, the whole of life is about seeking to deepen that awareness of the Divine.
Let us listen to the Prophet Isaiah to begin with: He touched my mouth with it, and said, "See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." The call of this prophet begins with a heavenly liturgy. It is not clear whether this is an inner vision of Isaiah or a strong dream or some other way of perceiving the reality. On the other hand, it is clear that Isaiah takes it as God reaching into his person life and cleansing him so that he can proclaim God's word to others. Because of this awareness of being cleansed and purified, Isaiah feels the capacity to volunteer to be sent by the Lord to His People.
We can note three things about this call: it comes from God, there is a purification and cleansing and finally there is a willingness of the one who is called.
Saint Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians is speaking about his personal call to serve the Lord. It also comes directly from God (even knocking him to the ground), it purifies him (making him aware of God's plans in a way he had never thought of before) and Paul becomes willing to follow the Lord. To this is added: For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
Here in Saint Paul we sense the unworthiness of the one called and yet the obedience to whatever God asks.
So when we come to the Gospel today, we hear Peter (but reflecting also the call of James and John who are with him) doubting the word of Jesus but doing His word. It is because Peter obeys that he discovers the presence of God, is humbled and then follows Jesus.
You and I are called to recognize that we are called by our baptism to follow the Lord, we are purified in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we will have doubts but in obedience to the Word we can encounter the Living God.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: