July 15, 2018 – Pastoral Impressions by Fr. Bill

Today’s readings challenge us to answer God’s call. Amos was a shepherd, a dresser of sycamores, who did not want his job as a prophet. He felt inadequate for such a ministry. Yet God said to him, “Go, prophesy to my people.” Amos did what he was asked to do. He went to the northern kingdom of Israel and pronounced God’s message that the people needed to reform their lives.
In the gospel we hear another famous story of answering God’s call. The apostles were ordinary men, at least on the surface. As fishermen, they were not the leading scholars of the day; they were not recognized as spiritual “holy men” within the Jewish community. Nevertheless, Jesus chose these simple men to do his work. Initially the call was passive; the apostles were simply required to walk with the Lord and listen to his words. But today we hear how the call has gone active. Jesus sends them forth, two by two, to do the work that is needed to make the kingdom of God come alive. Jesus sends these men forth in faith. They are to preach the Good News; they are not to worry about lodging, food, or clothes. God will provide all that is necessary for the mission they undertake.
We have all been called individually by name and collectively by community to answer God’s call. The initial call came at baptism. Our name was announced to the community; we became members of the church. We were called that day to service. to ministry; to an active pursuit of God. We live that call as a community, which needs our input. If we sit around and do nothing, allowing everyone else to do what is necessary, then we have missed the call. In the process we have missed the opportunity of a lifetime to show the face of Christ to others.
Each person must determine how to answer the call. Whatever the response, it must be active participation! Like Amos and the apostles, we may not think ourselves qualified; we may not want the job. But we must answer God’s call, for our benefit now and for the needs of our world.

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