The readings from the 12th Ordinary and last week's 11th Ordinary Sunday constitutes a special call for me, in particular because of the circumstances I find myself in. Last week, Jesus called his twelve disciples and sent them to reap the plentiful harvest. Fr. Adrian Yeo, who led in the prayer meeting reflection some two weeks back said that this passage gave great testimony to Jesus' universal call to all men and women. For the apostles were but simple men, sinners and even he who would betray Jesus. All are called to follow Him.
Often the thought of our unworthiness came up as an excuse not to serve. I, for one, am thoroughly familiar with passing on opportunities to serve in the Church because of 'lack of catechization' (my favorite escape), and 'lack of time & commitment to a particular place' (having moved to many places & parishes over the years). It betrays a deep fear of failure, and a less than trusting nature on God's providence. For no one will ever be "worthy" to gaze at God's face if not for the grace of Christ His son. Often I might think that a few more years of 'experience' would make me more suitable to serve, yet this short 'growing-up' while has proven otherwise, for I am now busier and no more wiser to serve than before. If anything, it might make me (mistakenly) believe that I can rely on my own strength rather than ask for His guidance.
So last Sunday's Gospel called out more strongly, this time Jesus said (three times!) "Do not be afraid!" Yes, what is there to be afraid of when God is there for us?
"I burn with zeal for Thy House" (Psalm 69:9)
This inscription is engraved onto a memorial plaque for a caretaker of the Cathedral of Good Shepherd. I see it each time I walk down the aisle, and sometimes I wonder what would it take to find and cultivate that kind of love that translates into fruitful service. The example of the late Pope JPII came to mind, and more recently, from a homily given by Fr. Frans De Ridder, of a Chinese seminarian he taught in Heilongjiang, who told him that he wants to experience how Christ lived in his earthly body.
"Do not be afraid."
Again, Jesus' voice echoed. Fr. De Ridder said that we have better things to do than to sin. Many, much better things, to do in the field of the Lord. I hear my name being called, not a shout above the din, but a persistent whisper and tugging: the CHOICE ministry has called again for renewal of zeal. Last year I failed to heed a call to be a RCIA sponsor, this year I am going to commit myself to this ministry as a humbler person, always remembering I am nothing without Him and that His will may be done through me.