[EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, January 26, is Bishop Thomas Gumbleton’s birthday. How fitting that the most recent reflection from his Peace Pulpit series in NCR is entitled, “The way to peace is not through violence, but through love”! Happy birthday Bishop Gumbleton from all of us at Pax Christi USA! Feel free, readers, to post comments wishing him a happy birthday below or on our Facebook page.]
As I was reflecting on the readings for this Sunday, I thought that because they — at least, the first reading and the Gospel reading — emphasized being called, that maybe this is a vocation Sunday, a Sunday when we think about our own call to follow Jesus. There was a time, I’m sure, and many of you may remember this, when if you happened to go to a Catholic school especially, or another religious ed program, the parents sponsored a vocation day. But it was always focused on being a priest, brother, or religious nun, and so those were the vocations in the church.
But the call that we’re talking about, the real vocation, is the one that is happening in the Scriptures today. It’s the call to every one of us to be a disciple of Jesus. A disciple of Jesus: one who is intent on listening to Jesus, hearing what he says, watching how he acts, and following him. And sometimes we might think that that’s not so difficult, to follow Jesus. But if we explore a little bit of what it really means to follow Jesus, it’s truly a challenge, but it’s so important that every one of us try to deepen our awareness of our call and what it means.
In the Gospel today, the first ones called by Jesus — Philip and Andrew, and then Simon the next day — all of them immediately follow Jesus, even though at the time they didn’t know exactly where he was going to lead them, what would be expected of them. In the Gospel of Luke, there’s a passage where a young person, a young man, comes up to Jesus enthusiastically because he wants to follow Jesus, he thinks….