Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009 ~ Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).

Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
"This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;
they were fishermen.
Jesus said to them,
"Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.
"Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.
He walked along a little farther
and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They too were in a boat mending their nets.
Then he called them.
So they left their father Zebedee in the boat
along with the hired men and followed him.


This Gospel reading always amazes me! These men see their Savior and drop everything to follow Him! They recognize Him and do not hesitate to respond to His invitation to become fishers of men.

A wise priest taught me to not hesitate when the Lord is calling. He generally gave this instruction to those of us considering a religious vocation, but it applies to all. If you know God wants something of you, why hesitate? He urged men who heard the call to the priesthood to go to seminary at the earliest possible time, not to "give it a few years" to confirm the calling. He urged women who felt called to religious life to go and see that life without waiting.

I have applied this advice throughout my life as a married woman and still do. There have been many decisions my husband and I have had to make where we know the Lord is directing us on a particular path, to move to another state or take a certain job. Trusting in our own ability to hear the Lord's call is a challenge, but it is a gift, as well! For an example that all of us can act on today, we are all called to a greater holiness. What are we doing to grow in that way? Our prayer life must come first. Nothing will go well unless our prayer life is in line.

That does not mean that we have set times each day where we do certain forms of prayer. I used to think my prayer life was failing, because I did not get in a Rosary every day or read Scripture a few times a week. As a wife, mother, and homeschooler, I know this is just not always practical. It means that our relationship with God is solid, that we take time for silent prayer of some sort daily and have a Holy Hour once a week to really connect with Him. More importantly, it means we are in constant conversation with Him throughout the day through aspirations, praise, and petitions.

During my Holy Hour the other day, I was being attacked. I could not concentrate on prayer. I was either in between sleeping and waking, or my thoughts were on strange worries and fears (that do not actually exist in my life and were quite disturbing). I knew satan was trying to keep me from being with God. So, I picked up a spiritual book and began reading. I was tempted to quit praying, to give up, to go home, but my heart longed to be with God. And, I knew from experience that if I persevered in prayer during that time, the Lord would bless me in the end with a nugget of intimacy and insight, as he has done countless times before. As I read, the torments stopped, and He gave me a glimpse of His will for my life at this time.

Jesus is calling each of us now to a deeper union with Him. He may be calling some of us to more specific callings, vocations, or decisions at this time in our lives. We cannot hesitate to respond. Every moment we delay is a moment of doubt. If we move forward in faith, all will be well, despite how difficult the path appears. Simon, Andrew, James, and John most certainly had no idea what their relationship with Jesus would become, but they instantly recognized Him and responded to His call. Do we do the same?

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