Responding To God’s Call With Love
Readings: 1st: Jer 1, 4-5. 17-19; Ps: 70; 2nd: I Cor 12, 31-13, 13; Gos: Lk 2, 21-30
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this forth Sunday of ordinary time, the church reminds us the privilege we have to participate in God’s mission by virtue of our baptism in Christ. So, in spite of all the difficulties associated with this call, love for God and humanity must sustain us in this mission.
Today’s first reading is principally a call to action and to proclaim the good news to all nations. This call is a privilege. It is also, a command that we must obey: “Stand up and tell them all that I command you.” The good news is that, God Himself is with us in this mission: “They will fight against you, but the shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you.”
These simply show that the call to this prophetic ministry is not solely our mission. Rather, it is principally God’s mission. We only make ourselves available, while God provides the strength and protection. He is the owner of the message, as well as the entire mission.
It is important to note is that God did not call us by accident. Rather, our call was a deliberate action from God who knows us personally. Hence, He calls us by our personal names and reminds us: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you as the prophet of the nations.” So, we are not strangers to God.
In our second reading today Paul reminds us that the “impetus agitat” (motivation) for this prophetic mission must be the following cardinal virtues: faith, hope and love. Faith in God sustains us in our prophetic ministry in spite of the obstacles we encounter. Hope motivates us to remain focused, and to believe that our efforts will not be in vain.
Saint Augustine of Hippo said: “Love and do whatever you want to do.” This simply means that love is the greatest and most important of these virtues. If love is not the foundation of our mission, our efforts might be in vain. A prophet who lacks love for God, the good news, and for God’s people will fail. A Christian who lives these virtues will succeed in God’s mission.
In today’s gospel, through his gracious words, Christ demonstrated his love for his people. Hence: He won the approval of all and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.” Without these gracious words motivated by love for the salvation of the people, all His efforts would have been in vain.
Today’s gospel also reminds us that life is not always easy for a true prophet, missionary or Christian in general. He faces oppositions, persecutions rejections, and even threats to his life. In spite of all these, Christ did not relent. Instead, he continued to cherish God’s call.
With Christ as our model, we must continue to love and cherish God’s people, while remaining faithful to God who called us. As those called to be prophets and missionaries, we must be committed to the good news and avoid the distractions of this world. Also, difficulties must not stop us from carrying out God’s mission.
We must always remember that our call is a privilege to serve God’s people. That is, to proclaim the good news through words, and through our actions among His people. Hence, it is important to know that a missionary without commitment to the good news, prayer and the people of God, is simply a tourist.
Therefore, with the psalmist, let us renew our commitment to God by proclaiming: “My lips will tell of your justice and of your help day by day. O God, you have taught me from my youth, and I will proclaim your wonders.”
Peace be with you!