The Call: Know Him, Love Him & Serve Him | Word from the Shepherd No. 116 | 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Sunday of the Word of God)
Jon.3:1-5,10;  1Cor.7:29-31; Mk.1:14-20

The many religions of the world is about man’s search for God. But Christianity is about God’s search for us. It was God’s initiative.

The Ninevites of the Book of Jonah are living sinful lives, absorbed in pleasures and noise, pursuing fame and fortune. There was an emptiness; a meaninglessness, no lasting happiness, reflected in resistance to God’s plan and moral laws. But the compassionate God reaches out. He sent forth Jonah to wake them, to put them on the right track. Jonah went as the sent.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus does the same as the sent, He invited and called people to personal relationship with God (reflected in  “being called by name). It was a call to a close relationship, to a happy and everlasting friendship, not to “doing” or servanthood.

To heed the call, to follow after the Lord entails leaving behind the old, the familiar life. Only our trust in God enables us to say ‘yes’. Trust does not happen overnight. It begins with casual meetings with someone; having seen the person over some time; coming to some mutual knowledge of that person; when led and ready to trust; the invitation or the call comes. When the disciples trusted Jesus, the Kingdom filled their hearts. This “trust walk” comes with 2 challenges or some call it the “crises”.

  1. When someone we love is stricken with painful suffering: the “called” will go through a journey of feeling helpless, frustrated and asking “why”. Eventually there will be a yielding, a letting go of the “why”and the seeking of God for meaning, solace and deliverance from the evil.
  2. When we are assigned or tasked with a special vocation or mission, just like Jonah. Jonah and the disciples had to give up the old and familiar. But Jonah fled, ran for his life.. The disciples, James and John left behind their father and their business. There is a cost to following- involves putting aside one’s personal plans or preferences. It demands a letting go or  detachment.  St Ignatius Loyola called it holy indifference.

What kept the prophets, the disciples and the many missionaries going? Our faithfulness and finish is founded on The Word of God, His personal word for you and me.

  1. Words that call us to repentance: invites us to let go the old life, attachments and resistance; to obedience
  2. Words that calls us to a sense of urgency: aware  that it is now or never, that “the time is short”(Paul said)
  3. Words that reveal God, His ways and His will: know that God is our Saviour, is mercy and love, is goodness and  a teacher. God reveals that the world is passing  but that His Kingdom and His friendship  lives forever.

Remember when God calls, His WORD comes to us. We come to KNOW Him, we grow to LOVE Him and we want to SERVE Him.

The call is to know, love and serve Him.