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Calling all disciples | Word Alive

Deacon Pedro

Friday, January 15, 2021

Detail of Saint John the Baptist Bearing Witness by Annibale Carracci. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Calling all disciples

A reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

by Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann

About eight years ago, when I was recently ordained (and too eager to preach well), I had to preach on the theme of “The Call”.  The readings were very similar to the ones for this Sunday. My plan was to begin the homily by pretending to answer my cell phone (if only I could ask a parishioner to phone me at the perfect time, it would actually ring). I was then going to tell everyone that it was God and that I had answered “The Call”.
Cheesy. But memorable.
Of course, God had other plans, for, as I began the homily and pulled the phone out of my pocket, it flew out of my hand and smashed on the floor.
It was memorable.
Since then I have reflected on and written and preached about “The Call” many times. One thing I have realized is that had it not been for the people around me – my parents, my grandmother, my friends, a few good priests and even some strangers, I probably would not have heard the call.
Look at Samuel in this Sunday’s first reading. He was the prophet who chose Saul to be the first king of Israel and then anointed David to be king. But as a boy he didn’t know how to recognize God’s voice or how to respond. It was Eli, the High Priest, who showed him.
The same thing happens in the Gospel passage. This is not the usual “Jesus-calls-the-disciples” story. In the other Gospels – Matthew, Mark, and Luke – Jesus walks down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee, sees Andrew and Simon and then James and John, and he calls them, “Follow me.”
That’s not what happens in the Gospel of John.
In this Gospel, John the Baptist tells two of his disciples, Andrew and his friend – we don’t know who he is – to follow Jesus: “There is the Lamb of God”: Follow him. Andrew and his friend go, and they remain with Jesus all that day. Then Andrew goes to tell his brother, Simon, “We have found the Messiah!”
Andrew and his friend would not have followed Jesus had it not been for John the Baptist, and Simon Peter would not have found Jesus had it not been for Andrew. How significant! We are still talking about it today.
God calls everyone. But most of the time he calls us through someone else. And God calls us, not for ourselves, but for those around us. When was the last time you pointed someone to Christ?
My favourite Scripture passage is the last thing Jesus tells the Twelve: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:20). That commission is for everyone. You might think that because you’re not a priest, or a deacon, nun, brother, or missionary, you can’t do it. But you’re wrong. We are all missionaries.
You probably can do a better job because you are not a priest or a nun.
Society tells us that faith is private and we shouldn’t talk about it. They’re wrong. Faith is not private. It is personal, but it is public. That’s why we practice it publicly in Church every Sunday. Don’t be afraid to share your faith in public. You don’t have to be annoying and preachy about it – and please don’t be cheesy about it – but don’t be shy about it.
Just be yourself and be honest.
When was the last time you made a disciple? Just as Eli pointed the way for Samuel and John the Baptist pointed the way for Andrew and his friend, and how Andrew brought his brother, Simon, to Jesus, when was the last time you brought someone to Jesus? When was the last time you pointed the way for someone else?
God calls everyone, and He uses us to call each other. The correct response is “Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.” His will is that you go and make disciples of others.
Don’t be cheesy about it, but make it memorable.

The readings for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, are
1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
John 1:35-42

Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann is a Producer at Salt + Light Media and a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Toronto.

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