For the Journey

The RSVP contained in many invitations implies that a response is expected. Upon receiving such invitations, we consider whether we have the time to attend, whether we want to go there — and for some, there is no question: of course we wouldn’t think of missing it.

“Respond, if you please” is implied within the many gifts and interruptions by which God calls to us. Response is different from reaction. A response is a result of pondering, weighing, evaluating what is being asked, what is in it for us, and what it will cost. A reaction is more impulsive and immediate.

Once a year, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Christ the King. He comes as a servant king and a summoning king, inviting all to follow him in service of those whom he is calling, “the whole world.” We are invited by St. Ignatius to consider the many ways we have been called in our lives to enter more deeply into Christ’s kingdom. In creating us, God has invested us with gifts and talents of all kinds. The Call of the King in the Exercises asks for a response to him by a response to those very gifts. Christ asked the fishermen to be fishers of souls; he asks us according to the unique and particular people we are. “I’ll call you to do this, because I have given you this and that.” Christ’s call then is a reinforcing, a blessing, of the gift that each of us is.

We pray also this week with the melody and words of the folk song “Follow me.” “Where I go, what I do and who I know, . . . take my hand and say you’ll follow me.”

Jesus asks that we follow him, but he will be with us and work through us and not ask anything of us that he has not asked of himself. He invites us to his victory but also to his real human way of gaining that victory.

We are asked to consider, to ponder, to reflect on the cost — what’s in it for us — and to listen to the gentle invitation to the use of the person and gifts God has given each of us.

Remember, we can never totally, irrevocably surrender everything of our lives and person to God. Peter, the first of the great fishermen, left everything to follow Jesus and spent the next three years taking it back little by little. At times we would like to place it all at his feet. He will take whatever little bit of our heart, gifts, and life we can offer at any one time.
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