The readings today remind us of God’s desire for us. God gives us free will and therefore does not impose his will on us. God invites us, encourages us and acts in powerful ways that will hopefully lead us to make his plan for us, our plan. God’s desire is very simple; He wants us to be with Him in Heaven. One of the first things I learned from the Baltimore Catechism back in grade school was why God made me. The answer was simple and quite memorable; “God made me so that I may know him, love him, and serve him in this world, so as to be happy with him forever in the next.”
In the Book of Genesis we hear of the intimate relationship between God and Adam and Eve. This ended with Original Sin when Adam and Eve turned away from God. After they sinned we are told they hid in the Garden—but God came looking for him. As Bishop Sheen pointed out, the very first question in the Bible is God calling out to Adam and Eve—“Where are you?” The rest of the Bible describes God calling out to us and searching for us. Once sin entered the world it separated us from God, but God did not give up his desire that we be united with him. God’s desire for us is to make it to heaven, and God calls out to each of us when we sin, “where are you?”
To help us on our journey to God, he calls us to some vocation. Vocations are numerous but what they have in common is the call to use the gifts we have been blessed with to bring us closer to God and one another. It is a call to community whether a religious community, Diocesan Community, Parish Community, or other Christ Centered group. In the Gospel today Jesus didn’t call just one Apostle, he called 12—he formed a community. When Jesus taught about prayer he said; “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I am with you.” We know, love and serve God by knowing, loving and serving one another in the name of the Lord. Our call is to live the Gospel – Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me. The Beatitudes, The Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy, and the Church today call us give attention to those around us.
The corporal works of Mercy are: To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead. These works of mercy are NOT—to support or advocate abortion, (Jesus came that we might have life—not death) to let the hungry and thirsty fend for themselves, to ignore the sick, to favor the death penalty rather than visit the imprisoned, to shelter the homeless by not keeping refugees and immigrants away from us. These are not the ways that we know, love and serve God in this world. And these are not God’s call to us.
God’s call is the personal invitation to follow him, that is to live according to his ways, and not our ways. His ways are not always popular with others and can be challenging to our way of thinking. Our personal views, the opinions of others, and the political agendas around us are not the way to Heaven. Jesus way is the way to Heaven and we are called to follow his way. It is Jesus who we should be molding our thoughts, beliefs and actions around.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.
Photo: Kim Metzgar