Third Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle A
Reflecting on Matthew 4:12-23, I Corinthians 1:1-3
What would it be like to just leave it all behind? Say, for example, that you and your brother were in your father’s fishing boat, mending the nets, and the Rabbi came close to your boat and called you each by your name? What would it be like to just jump off the boat and go with him?
Or what if you were a tax collector for the Romans, counting two for them and one for you, and the Rabbi passed by your booth? What would it be like to just walk away, with the chips still on the table?
Or what if you were in the middle of an argument with your kid, and you were right and she was wrong, and this was finally your chance to wipe that smirk off her face, and instead the Rabbi looked straight into your heart, and you just stopped, and held your tongue, and actually listened―actually heard her and put yourself into her world and her place of powerlessness?
Or what if somebody liked to talk about his candidates and his take on immigration reform, and instead of feeling your heart rate go up and your face getting red, instead of saying I’m for Obama! or I’m for Palin!, the Rabbi entered the room, and you saw and felt the fears and frustrations of your friend, and you walked away from the argument and walked into an actual, real friendship based on real listening and real hearing?
What if the Rabbi was walking toward you right now, calling your name? My guess is that, if you’re reading this, he already has.
In what ways do you feel yourself bending to the will of the Rabbi?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
I HOPE THAT I WOULD KNOW THE VOICE AND HEED HIS CALL. MAY BE THAT’S WHY AFTER WE FALL WE GET RIGHT BACK UP AND FOLLOW THAT VOICE,A LITTLE WISER AND A LOT MORE HUMBLED. AND WITH A GOOD CONFESSION UNDER OR BELTS WE GO FORWAED. BUT THAT IS IF WE ARE TRYING TO HEAR THAT VOICE AT ALL. BUT WE OR I MEAN MANY OF US ARE LITTLE MULES. WE PULL BACK AND REFUSE TO GIVE IN TO THE CALL OF THE LORD’S WILL. UNTIL WE FALL SO HARD AND FAR THAT WE ARE LOST, AND THEN THE ONLY VOICE WE CAN HEAR IS HIS. WE LEARN THAT IF WE DON’T BEND WE BRAKE. AT LEAST THAT HAS BEEN MY EXPERINCE
I think the most important message this week is in St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. We must belong to Jesus. We need to ignore anything that takes us away from Jesus, including any devotions we have to saints and even the Blessed Mother. If these devotions don’t lead us to Jesus, they are merely distractions. Focus, always, on the message of Jesus Christ and live accordingly. It’s simple. It’s just not easy.
It would take a special person to leave all behind and follow a complete stranger.
But with Our Lord’s guiding hand and “Trust in the Lord” as we now know it at least it may be tolerable.
Personally, I would have a difficult time doing this. The Lord woud be calling with many graces!
Tony Cenedella – Highlands Ranch, CO
For me there is no argument about the fact of the call and the origin of the call. The call however goes through “interpretation” and at times the various interpretations are enriching and at other times in a tension with one another, even conflicting.I experienced this yesterday while attending a workshop on “Who Speaks for Islam?” I noted one gentleman who came and tried to demonize all Muslims and yet in speaking to him before the workshop, he was sincerely doing various ministries in his parish. Did the Church of his youth socialize him into this?
Does he see himself as following Jesus leaving the nets?
– – Cris
I have come to know Jesus, through his Mother, and have had a closer relationship with Him. I was called many years ago, I just didn’t listen. so when I started praying my Rosary, I answered the call. She knows what he likes better than I do. I have a few spirtual advisers,His Mother, all the Saints. thanks for letting us express ourselfs.
I have been very blessed to have a faith filled daughter who will soon graduate from Franciscan University. We are also planning her wedding to a wonderful young man. Their hometowns are 1000 miles apart, and I would so like to have them choose HER hometown, where I live, for the beginning of their home. That is not happening, and I am certainly “bending toward the Rabbi”, to allow them to make the decision they hear from God, and to keep my silence and pray for the wisdom they have demonstrated thus far, and hear the voice of God guiding me as well.
I have learned that when I don’t bend to the Lord’s will I brake. I just am a hard headed person and think I am strong enough to pratice my “free will” until I fall on my face, sometimes I fall so far and hard, the Lord’s call is all I hear. Which shows me His faithfulness to His people and His mercy to all.
Someone at work said, “I like the shape of your earrings.” They were octagonal and I wore them occasionally when I was in the mood for “something different.” After hearing this week’s gospel, I’ve been thinking more and more of what it means to leave behind the things that seem important. So, I cleaned the earrings, wrapped them in a soft tissue and brought them to her. She was totally surprised. “Do you really mean it?” she asked when I told her they were hers.
I’ve done this before when a woman came up to me in a drug store and said that she liked the metallic butterfly pin I was wearing. I took it off and gave it to her. She was shocked that a complete stranger would give her a gift. She put on the butterfly and glowed like the pin’s shiny surface.
This is not my usual practice though it feels very freeing. The Rabbi seems to be telling me to “let go” and the last nine months have been exactly that, letting go of employment, salary, the use of my gifts and talents, a sense of security, people I enjoyed being around, physical flexibility, self-esteem. For me, bending to the will of the Rabbi means letting go with grace, putting everything into his hands, trusting him to lead.
At 60 years old, I am preparing for that ultimate call. I’ve decided I don’t want extra baggage to make that trip. I’m trying to let go of resentment, bitterness, grudges, all the things that hold on to me. I want to leave all that “stuff” behind so that I can freely follow with more flexibility and bend to his will. I’m convinced it takes practice in the little things. Bend. Bend Bend. What I find so loving on the part of the Lord is that He may bend me a little but he does not break or crush me.
I am struck by the beautiful consonance between the original occupation of Christ’s first four disciples and the mission to which He called them. Think about it: both sets of brothers worked in what was essentially a family business; they produced a basic staple of sustenance for their community; and every day’s production depended on a combination not only of effort but also providence. What better preparation could they have had?
The question this raises for me is what Christ would find in MY daily work to serve as a foundation for discipleship if he appeared in the office tomorrow and invited me to drop everything to follow him. I spend my days worrying about things like server uptime, load balancing on the web servers, deadlines for development projects, and all things technical. Hmm. I don’t have an answer, but maybe my work this week is to reflect on this question more prayerfully and look for the hidden places in my daily life where my faith and the call to live the gospel can find expression.
Beautiful, MichaelCarlos, just beautiful! Thank you.