In all three years of the Revised Common Lectionary, the first couple of weeks after the Baptism of the Lord are devoted to stories of God calling people. This year, the first lesson concerns the calling of Samuel, and the Gospel lesson recounts the calling of five of Jesus’ disciples. In 2008, Virginia Wendel invited readers of Homily Service to connect the scriptural call accounts with God’s calling of other persons throughout history, including St. Francis Assisi, Rev. Marie Fortune, Rev. Roy Bourgeois, Edwina Gately and Cesar Chavez.
There is no doubt in my mind that there are more people than can be counted who have been called by God and have responded to that call sooner or later. Let there be no confusion about being called by God. The response does not have to be like that of Francis or Marie or Roy or Edwina. The response to the call of God can be joining the church choir, being a liturgist or lector, becoming a Eucharistic minister/minister of care, working in the local food pantry, teaching a Sunday school class or helping with a youth group work trip.
If we truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world, and we consider ourselves to be disciples, then we open ourselves to God’s call on a daily basis. In responding to God’s call, we also bring followers to Jesus and to the Good News of the reality of Jesus’ power in our lives. Daily consider saying out loud to God, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Churches often spend so much time working out a coherent theology of “call” or “vocation” that they neglect to emphasize the call of Christ in the life of every Christian. How can we resurrect the concept of the vocation of daily life?
Virginia S. Wendel (2008): 18 January 2009. Homily Service, 42:1, 100.
Virginia S. Wendel is director of Mission Integration and Pastoral Care at St. Joseph Village of Chicago.