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 Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
On this fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, the church reminds us that we are privileged to be called by God to be his prophets. Through our baptism as Christians, God called each one of us to take His word and proclaim it to the world. However, we cannot succeed in this call without love for God, his Word, and his people
The focus of today’s first reading is principally on a call to action and to proclaim the good news to all nations. This call is both an imperative and a privilege God gave us. This mission is very important to God. Hence, He warns us: Do not be afraid or in their presence, I will make you dismayed. On the other hand, He promises to provide the strength and protection we require to accomplish our call, “I for my part today will make you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, and a wall of bronze to confront all these lands.
These show that the call to this prophetic ministry is not solely our business. Instead, it is a collaborative ministry between God and us. We make ourselves available while God provides strength and protection. He is the owner of the message and the mission. He will also provide all that it takes to succeed in his mission.
One important point to note in this reading is that God did not call us by accident. Instead, He reflected on it very well before calling us. He knew each one of us personally and still knows us now very well. Also, he knows what he wants us to do for him. Hence, He calls us by our personal names and reminds us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you; I have appointed you as the prophet of the nations. This means that we are not strangers to God and His call. He knows us personally.
In our second reading today, Paul reminds us that the driving force for this prophetic mission must be the following cardinal virtues: Love, Faith, and Hope. Faith in God sustains us in our prophetic ministry despite the obstacles we encounter. Also, hope for a bright future motivates us to remain focused and believe that our efforts will not be vain. A prophet or Christian who has these cardinal virtues will succeed in his ministry.
Saint Augustine of Hippo once 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 at the base of our mission, all our efforts might be in vain. A prophet who lacks love for God, the good news, and for the people he called to prophesy is a clashing cymbal. Love must motivate us to follow God’s initiative to be his prophets for the salvation of all nations and people.
In today’s gospel, Christ demonstrated great love for his people. Therefore, “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. Life is not always easy for a true prophet. He faced persecutions rejections and was eventually crucified. Despite all these, Christ did not relent. Instead, he continued to cherish God’s call. Like Christ, we must remain faithful to God who called us.
So, we are privileged to be called by God to be his prophets. We must do this both through the words of our mouths and through our actions. So, it is essential to know that a prophet or missionary without commitment to the good news is simply a tourist. Therefore, with the psalmist, let us proclaim: “My lips will tell of your justice, and I will proclaim your wonders.”
Peace be with you!