Daily Reflection
January 13th, 2003
Howie Kalb, S.J.
Jesuit Community
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Hebrews 1:1-6
Psalm 97:1-2b, 6-7c, 9
Mark 1:14-20

One of the faith messages from today’s scriptures concerns vocations.  “Vocation” is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as: “The career to which one feels he is called.”  If there is a calling, the calling comes from someone and we believe the caller is Almighty God.

Often times the idea of a “vocation” is limited to the priesthood or religious life.  We know it also applies to the married and single life.  But the reality embraces each and every “way of life” God calls a person to live and to serve the human family.  

To recognize the call from God we must be aware and analyze the attractions and desires of our hearts, the talents that are given us and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  In what ways is this process accomplished?  The Ignatian Retreat is geared to helping one hear God’s call.  Then again, the model presented by parents, friends or siblings can trigger the call.  Certain special events; calamitous, triumphant, or personally unique, can make God’s call audible for many people.

In the Letter to the Hebrews, the author is telling us that God has called people over the ages, “in fragmentary and varied ways.”  But now he speaks to us “through his Son.”  Obviously this applies to God’s revelation for our salvation, but Jesus speaks to all of us individually in the events of our lives as well.  Not always as directly as his Son spoke to the apostles in today’s Gospel.  “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”   

Although this analogy is a clever turn of phrase, Jesus wants us to know that his call will demand the use of talents that he has given us.  The apostles were fishermen.  Fishermen are tremendously patient, know when and where to ply their trade, the bait to use and how to set their lines and nets in order to bring in the greatest catch.  So armed with these same skills and talents the apostles will find themselves bringing people to the Lord. 

Happiness in our vocation will come from responding to God’s call.  Every effort to try and force our vocation into a channel for which we have no talents, or circumstances will not allow, or for wrong or selfish reasons will only bring on frustration and bitterness. 

I feel we should constantly challenge ourselves questioning Christ’s call in our life.  Do I occasionally renew the desires that initiated my career?  Am I using my talents to make that career profitable in God’s service?  And finally, have circumstances changed so that my career no longer has meaning in God’s eyes?  Hard questions, but they can pay large dividends for me and for the Kingdom.

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