A40 GOD CALLS
St. John 1.vv.35-51
~ The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, "Look, here is the Lamb of God!". The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?". They said to him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying?". He said to them, "Come and see". They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, "Follow me". Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth". Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?". Philip said to him, "Come and see". When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!". Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?". Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you". Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!". Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these. And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man". ~
What a pity it is that a "vocation to the ministry" so often implies a calling to be ordained. All Christians are called to the service of Christ, to personal commitment to him, to witness and to "evangelise", that is, to declare by word and deed his saving love.
However the call may come whether it be by an inner conviction or by a direct invitation from friends and family or fellow Christians, our response is all important.
In the Old Testament we read of Jeremiah shrinking from God's call but God overcomes his reluctance with the unanswerable pledge, "I will be with you. I will teach you what to say". We may struggle but God is stronger. Saul on the Damascus road ceases to struggle against God. His zeal in persecuting Christians is used by God and his conversion to "the Way" was so complete that he obeyed immediately. Peter and the three fishermen readily obeyed the call. Their readiness, as St. John tells us, arose from their introduction to Jesus by John the Baptist. In all our mission work, like John, we point to Jesus and introduce others to Jesus.
Maybe we are not called like Jeremiah in a position of power and authority to denounce sin; nor are we called like Saul (St. Paul) to travel the Middle East refuting heresies and building up the Church of Christ by argument and example; we may not ,like the disciples of Jesus, be sent out as Apostles into the world. It may be like that, but much more likely, we are called to live quietly and to testify by deed and word to God's love for us and all his children, to the sense of purpose that God has for our lives, what he has done for us in Christ and to the sense of his presence in our lives. This is how we draw close to God and draw others to his saving grace in Jesus Christ.
When we contemplate our own incompetence, our lack of faith, our ignorance and sin, we may well wonder what God can possibly see in us that he calls us to his service. It was not only Moses, Jeremiah and many Old Testament prophets who balked at the thought of becoming spokesmen for God. If God calls us (and he does) he knows us through and through. His promise is always "I am with you". He knows what he can and desires to make of us. A master musician can produce the most wonderful music from a very poor instrument. Fritz Kreisler, the great violinist, maintained that it was the player not the instrument that called forth perfect music. Many doubted that he could succeed with an inferior instrument. In New York he advertised a concert played on a "superb instrument". At the end of his recital there was rapturous applause. When it had died down he raised his violin over his head and smashed it over his knees. There was a stunned silence, then Kreisler said, "It's all right, my good violin is in my dressing room; I bought this for three dollars round the corner".
If Kreisler could produce such results from an inferior instrument, just think what God can make of you or me!