Millions of them are made every day, and just as many millions of people are most likely annoyed by them. I refer to so called “robo calls.” You, like me, may well have another name for them that does not belong here nor in church. Obviously plotted to try and sell us something we don’t really need, these calls are also sometimes used by charitable groups seeking donations for worthy causes. There is a particularly heinous subdivision of same electronic intrusions called “scams”, which are coldly calculated to bilk the unsuspecting of their funds. All of it is the bane of us who
simply want our phones to be connected to family and friends and/or our legitimate needs for products and services.
The collective Scripture Readings today are all about a calling of a different nature entirely, although for some people they may be unwanted. I mean the call from God to do something for Him, often enough bearing a certain amount of challenge to our comfort. Even great saints have struggled with these.
Amos, whose book we read today, seems on the face of it to be a bit shocked by God’s choice of him. Nor is he entirely thrilled by the prospect. I wager he would have been glad to return to his sheep and his “dressing of sycamores” whatever that entailed. But he is a good man, a man with the right set of priorities, and having been banished from his homeland by an egoistic priest named Amaziah, Amos goes off to do the will of his God.
St. Paul, another of God’s chosen, answers his calling and thinks of it as a blessing from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. He humbly accepts his call in the right attitude and tells his audience in Ephesus to rejoice in their adoption by the Father and the fact that they “exist for the praise of His glory.” We all know that St. Paul never had it easy in responding to his call.
On to Mark’s gospel, where we find Jesus assigning the Twelve He has already called to go out, two by two, for their first “field mission.” He reminds them not to bring excess baggage for their material comfort, but to concentrate on their mission and above all, trust in God. Well, we know the content of the Bible has been fixed for some time, although the message it sends is for all time.
The mission and message of the Church perdure to this very day. A calling goes out to each one of us from the same Jesus who started it all with its foundation on St. Peter and his calling. God’s call to us is hardly random or mechanical. Its purpose is to reveal to the world the message it needs to hear. One which generates a peace and satisfaction to the human heart that the things of this world simply cannot.
I believe we know deep down the truth of this belief. At a certain point in life we realize that all this striving, this compulsion of competition, this push for power, wealth, honor and fame is all just “sound and fury” as Mr. Shakespeare wisely pointed out. What God wants you and me to realize also that we have our mission, our calling. It is mysterious, yes. It can also be irksome. But it is a good above all others.
Here are the great Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman’s thoughts on this matter that I have found helpful for so many years. “God has created me to do Him some definite service: He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep his commandments. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him. In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. In sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends; he may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink; hide my future from me. –still He knows what He is about.”
God love you and give you His peace