15th Sunday in Ordinary Time


By:  John Dalla Costa

It makes my heart smile to ponder today’s reading from Paul. Before the big bang boomed, before atoms fused, galaxies constellated, or molecules formed, God knew each and every one of us, and chose us in Christ.

Paul was a tentmaker by training, not an advanced mathematician, but his genius here was recognizing the underlying spiritual physics of God’s creative love. In Genesis, the act of creation is a summoning, and at the same moment of speaking all into being God also recognizes the inherent goodness of that creation. This is why all matter – every iota of matter – matters to God. And it is why all matter, including that which constitutes us as human beings, bears the lingering echo of God’s calling forth.

Lack of professional accreditation does not disqualify us from God’s call. Amos was a shepherd and a tree-trimmer before heeding God’s beckoning, and taking up the prophetic work that unsettled unbelieving kings. Paul thought he was responding to God’s laws as he zealously persecuted the followers of Jesus, only to discover after his conversion that his mission, pre-ordained from before the founding of the cosmos, was to call the whole human world to Christianity.

What’s amazing is that God’s call can be revolutionary even when those responding seem to be so ill qualified to represent the Divine Mysteries. The twelve summoned in today’s gospel to go and begin the work of church-building were humble toilers on fishing boats. Strangers must have initially wondered how such authority could emanate from people who were just like them. Yet that in the end was what must have been so persuasive.

Calling resonates here: recognizing the extraordinary in the ordinary, and fathoming the inherent good in the seemingly insignificant.