It would seem silly not to post on this Vocations Blog a reflection on the readings from the Masses of the last two Sundays that have had such a strong vocations theme. Yesterday we heard in the second reading (1 Cor 7:29-31) that “the world as we know it is passing away”. This is a good reminder to us to lift our minds to heaven and contemplate our higher calling. In amongst the many things that we do in our lives every day, we also need to be very clear about what our vocation is i.e. what particular way of living are we called to (not merely what job or career)? How does the Lord want me to live out my baptism as one who has ‘put on’ Christ?
Jonah (in the first reading) had earlier run away from the call of the Lord (you remember how he fled on the boat, was thrown overboard and then swallowed by the fish). He ran away because he feared the task that the Lord had asked of him – it seemed too big, he seemed to himself to be incapable of the task: who was he to go and announce conversion and repentance in a large city of non-believers? It can be daunting to bear witness to the Lord in a hostile environment. But he was only thinking of himself and his own comfort and self-preservation. This is NOT the way to approach the Lord and His call.
The Lord calls us to go out of ourselves, to take those steps, to have faith that He will go before us and go with us – just as Jesus grabbed Peter immediately that time when Peter began to walk on the lake and feared and began to sink (note that Jesus was already walking on the lake).
In yesterday’s Gospel (Mk 1:14-20) we heard the calling of the first apostles and the call was to “follow Me”. He goes before those whom He calls and the call is to follow. Those who follow keep their eyes on the One they are following. Let us trust then – not looking inwardly at oneself and inhibited by fear (like Jonah), but looking towards the Lord who calls us forth. Let us set our eyes firmly on the Lord who calls us – who calls us to be who we’ve been created to be – always following behind Him and walking in union with Him. Let’s not forget that Jonah’s role was in fact a simple one – to simply announce the word – and whilst he had earlier trembled at the task, his simple completion of it resulted in the conversion and salvation of the entire town. Is the Lord asking the same of you?