As I continue my retreat, the gospel this morning, simple as it was, really spoke to me. It was the call of the apostles.
If often think that Jesus really messed things up when he called that group of men to follow Him. After all, they were simple people, not intellectuals. They were salt-of-the-earth, down-and-dirty kinds of people. They were ostracized, as was Matthew the tax collector, rabble-rousers, as in Simon the zealot, and betrayers, as in Judas Iscariot.
But, as I think about it more, I realize that Jesus was calling everybody. He did not differentiate the call. He did not give the invitation to just one kind of person. He called rich and poor, young and old, bad and good, to consider the invitation of God to repent, believe, and be saved.
Therein lies our hope. Because, I think to myself, if God can call them, maybe there is hope for me.
You know the old saying: we are our own worst enemies. I look back at my life and often cringe at the choices that I have made. Some were incredibly stupid, some were dangerous, some were ill-informed, some were selfish, some took me farther away from God rather than closer to Him. And yet, in all of that, God apparently chose me as well.
The difficult thing is to try to respond to His call wholeheartedly. You would think that after thirty-four years of priesthood it would be easier to respond to God. On the contrary, it often becomes more difficult. As I get older, I find myself thinking things like, “For once in my life, I would just like to do things my way.” I know, in my very being, that my way would leave me stumbling and bumbling; but, at least I would be the one in charge.
It is hard to let God be in charge every moment of every day. Once in a while, I want to grab the steering wheel and try to drive on my own. That is why I need retreats such as the one that I am on. I helps me to focus on God’s will even as I remember what happens when I try to do it on my own. 🙂
So, I reiterate the sentiment above and ask God to help me use all the gifts that He has given to me for the benefit of others, not for myself. Mold me into His instrument and help my life point to Him.