By Fr. Mike, O.P.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
When I read and pray about our Gospel reading for this weekend, I am reminded about just how amazing our Lord Jesus actually was in the way he handled things during His earthly ministry.
From the very start we can see Him making some interesting and surprising choices that would change the world forever. Think about it. This weekend’s Gospel reading, the call of the Apostles, shows Jesus setting the stage and choosing the people who would bring His message of God’s love and forgiveness to the world and eventually to you and me.
Each and every time I reflect on these readings, I have to think about how thankful I am that Jesus was indeed so much smarter and savvier than myself. If God had come to me and asked me to choose a group of people through which He planned to change the world forever, I am certain I would have done a terrible job. I probably would have started my search for the Apostles at all of the world’s most prestigious universities and think tanks. I would have sifted through the ranks of the world’s top companies for best marketing and management personnel I could find. I would have probably searched for a few really well known and respected celebrity types to act as spokespersons for my mission. I am certain my imaginary efforts would have ended in utter disaster.
Not so with the way Jesus actually and historically did things. He decided to start with simple folks. He chose seven or perhaps nine fisherman, who were basically the equivalent in today’s world of everyday workers. He added two to four tradesmen or more skilled workers, one tax collector, and one whose political leanings were mentioned (a zealot) with no clue as to his profession. The common denominator was He chose helpers with who everyday people could relate. People just like you and I.
The sharing and spreading of our faith, which has the power to really transform the world, was entrusted not to those to whom the powers that be or popular opinion would consider the best and the brightest. Jesus choose everyday people like us. In other words, He choose you!
As is so often the case, some of the simplest things we find in the teaching and examples provided for us by Jesus have much larger implications than a cursory glance might provide. What we see in Jesus’ teaching today, my sisters and brothers, is your importance in His Church. You are the everyday people who have the power and opportunity to invite others to explore and share our faith. You have the lived experience to be able to help future generations of Catholics and future leaders within our Church to see and understand what it looks like to be a follower of Christ in today’s world.
Sure, God has called people like fathers Rich, Aubuchon, and me, as well as deacons Frank and Gene to special ministries in the Church, but let’s be realistic. Our ministries are primarily focused on helping you, the people who are already here. The real and important work of spreading and sharing the faith to everyday people … the important work of inviting people to learn more about God’s love for them in the Church … the real work, the critical task of being examples of God’s love to the rest of the world rests with all of His followers. It rests with and in you and me both!
Let us give thanks that God did not call us to do this all by ourselves. Let us give thanks that He gave us each other, the church, and the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us along the way. And, let us answer the call he made to Peter, John, and James in today’s reading. “Come after me”; we have work to do!