St. Mary's Church front entrance - spring 2021

Answering God’s Call

Posted : Jan-15-2021

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Fr. Wilson Andrade is the pastor of St. Ann Parish and the Native Peoples’ Mission, both in Toronto.

There is a story of grandpa and grandma who were having a quarrel one day. The next day grandpa forgot all about it, but grandma was still angry and did not talk to him. Nothing grandpa did could bring grandma out of her sullen silence. 

Then grandpa had an idea. Wherever grandma went, he was right behind her, searching for something. When she went into the living room, the kitchen or the bedroom, he followed her, searching for something. 

Finally, grandma had enough. She shouted out, “What on earth are you looking for?!” 

Grandpa with a gleeful smile said, “Ah! At last I found your sweet voice.”

Today we heard the beautiful Scriptural readings that invite us to ponder the call of God. Based on these readings, I would like to reflect on three concepts: Call of God; “Come and See;” and the community of Christ.  

Call of God 

The dramatic call of God came to the Prophet Samuel when he was a young man, but Samuel was unaware of who was calling him. After the repeated interventions, the elderly priest, Eli, recognized that God was calling the young Samuel. In the silence of night, the voice of God, heard in a constant sound, made Samuel aware of God’s presence within his human conscious. 

In the Gospel, we admire John the Baptist, who recognized God's presence in the person of Jesus saying, “Look, here is the Lamb of God,” as he guided his own disciples to follow Jesus. 

Let these readings inspire us to be open to hearing God’s call and answer it with those humble words: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  

In a similar way, we see in these readings that Eli, John the Baptist and St. Andrew are all model spiritual directors and vocation promoters. They teach us to follow the call of God and to pray, to guide and to support those who are struggling to answer the call of God in our community.

“Come and See”

As we hear in the Gospel, Jesus asked those following Him: “What are you looking for?”

The disciples yearned to know more about Jesus before their final commitment and Jesus opened the door to them saying, “Come and See.” Jesus’s invitation is personal, open, common and free. It is a personal choice that one makes with full freedom. This invitation, which Pope Francis refers to as a “call to Holiness,” as he tells us: to be saints is not a privilege of the few, but a vocation for everyone (Gaudete et Exsultate, 2018).  

All are welcome to witness life with Jesus. All are called to see for themselves, to experience the divine presence in Jesus. When the disciples followed Jesus and saw His life, they proclaimed the good news and they invited St. Peter and others to join them. 

When we encounter Jesus and experience that divine presence of love, joy and peace, we cannot but be transformed ourselves and share that encounter with others. When we read and reflect on the Scriptures, when we pray and meditate, when we join in our community worship and the celebration of the sacraments, let us become aware of the divine presence. Let us listen to God calling to us, “come and see,” so we can experience God’s love and God’s peace. Let us be transformed to share our joy with everyone in our community. 

Community of Christ

When St. Andrew decided to follow Jesus, he recruited his brother, Simon, to also experience life with Jesus by saying: “We have found the Messiah.” Jesus gave Simon a new name, Cephas, translated as Peter.

Later they came to know Jesus’s plan, how He would continue preaching the Gospel by showing St. Peter the seed of the Church community. The Church was born following the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This Church later extended and explained by St. Paul, who wrote to the Church of Corinth: “Everyone is a member of the Body of Christ.” 

So, we must follow God's call and become a model of faith for others to follow to Jesus. From the first disciples to our present day, the Church is blessed with many models of faith, holy men and women – “a cloud of witness.” We too can take the courageous step to follow Jesus and find freedom and peace. Pope St. John Paul II meaningfully shares the Virtues of the Models of Faith in the Church in his Way of the Cross Prayer for the 12th Station: 

“From the Cross of Christ, was born the new life of Saul, the conversion of Augustine, joyful poverty of Francis of Assisi, the radiant goodness of Vincent de Paul, heroism of Maximilian Kolbe, amazing charity of Mother Teresa of Calcutta … From the Cross of Christ was born the revolution of love.” 

Let us pray, listen and follow the call of God to love: 

Here I am Lord, I come to do your will, Rekindle in me the fire of your love, to listen to you and to follow, so I may become holy and a living sacrifice in your service, offered to your glory.