The Hallmarks of Intentional Personal Discipleship
by Erica Tice
Ordinary time begins with the calling of the first Apostles. This is not a coincidence. Ordinary time signifies the period of time in the liturgical year which is set aside for spiritual growth, hence the vibrant green of the vestments, chalice veils, and votive candles. As Catholics, this spiritual growth is to be centered on developing intentional personal discipleship, emphasized by the calling of the Apostles. Last week the first encounter of Andrew and Peter with Christ was described by John; today the same encounter is described by Mark. Both evangelists take care to illustrate the overall theme of intentional discipleship with particular focus on the hallmarks of such discipleship: the theological virtue of faith, the art of abandonment, and complete trust. Andrew and Peter follow after Christ in an act of pure faith. Ordinarily, faith is a virtue infused at Baptism, but Peter and Andrew, as well as James and John, demonstrate a profound act of faith by immediately and intentionally following after Christ. Not only to do they make a spectacular display of faith but they also exhibit an attitude of complete abandonment to God’s will. Mark writes that they “abandoned their nets and followed him.” These four men walked away from the only livelihood they knew. None of them knew Christ personally and none of them had any certainty about the future. In simplicity and conviction, they heard the voice of Christ and responded without hesitation. Most importantly of all, each of the Apostles in today’s Gospel wilfully put their trust in Christ. None of them knew what the future held – indeed, three of the four would profess their faith as martyrs – but they knew that Christ was part of that future. So what are we waiting for? Like Peter and Andrew, James and John, we should endeavour to become intentional disciples. By virtue of our Baptism we know the voice of our Lord. As we respond to His voice with faith, abandonment, and trust, we too will be given everything we need to become “fishers of men” and like our brothers, the Apostles, we too can cast our nets into the deep and become heroic saints.
- Jonah 3.15, 10
- Psalm 25 1
- Corinthians 7.29-31
- Mark 1.14-20
Erica Tice is the Campus Minister for The University of St. Michael’s College.
Responding to God’s Call
by Lucinda M. Vardey
As we enter more fully into the New Year, and settle into what the Church calls “Ordinary Time” we are given the opportunity to hone our prayer life and begin again with God.
God can call us at any time. In fact, it is usually within the regular everyday activities of ordinary life that this happens. God’s call is rarely delivered like a flash of lightning, or a thunderbolt. Jesus often negated others’ requests for miraculous signs to prove his messianic kingship, by emphasizing instead the centrality of personal faith.
Jesus exemplified that perfect symmetry of relationship with God, that of doing, above all, the will of God, the purpose of every believer’s life.
As we read in the book of Samuel, God calls more than once. We may not hear it as directly as the prophet, because God invites in a variety of ways. Some of us hear God’s voice in our emotions, our feelings, a deep sense of what we are to do: others find God’s calling through their service, a slow revealing of direction within the sharing of their talents and gifts. Others, like the sick and suffering – or like Samuel himself – may be lying on their beds: some may be alone on a street, or in a park, some may be on their way to a football game (as our former pastor, Fr. Ken Decker was doing when called to his vocation to the priesthood).
Many of us are afraid to take risks, but it almost goes without saying that God’s call requires them. Let us begin again to follow the Lord’s directive by stepping away from the sidelines of pondering with maybe some fear, to acting with trust and confidence as Samuel did. May we be ready to do whatever we are asked by uttering the prayer, “Here I am, speak, Lord for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3.3b-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6.13c-15a, 17-20
Gold, Frankincense, Me & You
by John Dalla Costa
Make a trek today
With willing heart follow the star
Behold the light, laser-like illuminating the Child
Come let us bring our gifts
In a heartbeat of silence
Ponder the Presence
Bask in the Child’s glow
Touch tenderly His tiny fingers
Caress with Mother Mary His cheek
Then join the wise ones
Make an offering
Be the gift
What will be the treasure we bring to Jesus?
What commitment will we lay at the crib?
How will we honour Him?
The Child has come to save us
Yet as a child needs us
To be His eyes in our world
To be His hands doing the needed work of now
To hear for Him the joys and sighs of our sisters and brothers
To be His heart enveloping the world’s sorrows and hopes
To mourn and be merciful
And to seek justice and make peace –
In His name
And in His stead
All of us matter more than gold
Each of us are indispensable
Having followed the star generations have followed
Having heeded the holy-tug of Sacred Scripture
We too are now intertwined in the story –
Mother and Child, me and you
We’ve all crossed our own deserts of longing to be here
We’ve all trusted that God’s promise would be kept
The hard-won glorious Epiphany is ours –
Not only having God revealed to us in a stable
But revealing as well our deepest selves to God
Make a trek today
Bow, or on bended knee, approach the crib
What will we offer Our Lord?
What gift to the Christ-Child can only I make?
Ephesians 3.2-3a, 5-6