May the Peace of Christ reign in our hearts,
Being a priest you have the privilege of speaking to many people at so many different places in their lives...
We talk to people when they are young or preparing for marriage.
We talk to people who have been away from God for a long time and are wondering how to come back.
We talk to people when their parent is sick or has just died.
We talk to people when they just lost their job.
We talk to people in intensive care.
The other day I sat right there with our Third Graders who were preparing for their first confessions.
They told me it was really hard to be good.
Last year as they prepared for first reconciliation they asked if it was a sin to shoot your father with a nerf gun.
They were so sincere and honest. It was humbling what a privilege.
Yes Priests listen and talk to lots of people…about lots of things
Some of the most moving conversations a priest has with those who are terminally ill or very sick.
When a person finds themselves in that kind of situation they don’t often have the energy or time for facades.
Frequently they simply say what is on their mind or what is on their heart.
Some are angry that their time seems to be running out.
Some are afraid.
Sometimes they express gratitude for all the blessings in their lives.
Many lament that they’ve left things undone..
They look back on their lives and remember all the times they did not answer God’s call
They say things like…
I should have spent more time with my kids.
I learned too late how much I really loved my wife and how much she loved me.
I should have planned better to provide for my family.
Today’s readings remind us that time is indeed short.
In the first reading the reluctant prophet and procrastinator Jonah finally gets around to calling Nineveh to conversion.
We all know the parable… he did his best to run from God and only after he was swallowed by a whale and spit up on the shore of Nineveh did he say yes to God’s call.
In the second reading St. Paul bluntly tells the Corinthians.
“I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.”
In the Gospel Jesus simply walks up to the some fishermen and calls them to the service of God’s Kingdom.
The scholars tell us that the first apostles probably knew Jesus before he called them
but nonetheless the call was stark and urgent.
Jesus didn’t try and convince them or woo them
He didn’t explain all of the consequences of his call and what it is going to cost them.
He simply says come follow me and they did.
The call of the first apostles was simple, short, sweet and urgent
Sometimes, even when we accept that doing God’s will in our lives is urgent we find excuses not to answer God’s call.
We convince ourselves that we don’t have what it takes,
that we are not qualified to do God’s work
When we’re tempted to use this excuse
it is important for us to look at today’s Gospel and see who Jesus called.
He didn’t call the theologians or the priests.
He didn’t call the scholars of the law.
He doesn’t call the rich or the powerful who could have gotten the job done much easier.
Jesus called simple hard working people, just like you and me.
Holy ones God has called each and everyone of us over and over again
And God’s call is urgent
We all know how quickly time flies.
Yes each and everyone of us has only has so much time.
And we never know how much we have
Have we answered God’s call in our lives ?
Will we answer the next time God calls?
Will we pick up the phone and call the sibling or parent we’ve been fighting with for way too long?
Will we put aside our own interests and invest more of our limited time in our marriages and in our kids?
Will we be committed to becoming better people holier people more generous people?
It is so important not to leave things undone or procrastinate in doing God’s will.
All of us have heard the same call that Jesus shared with the Apostles…
Come follow me …
Pray God the next time we hear it… we say yes.