Call Waiting?: Nov. 30, First Wednesday of Advent

Jesus said, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. . . He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. ~ Mt 4:19-20, 22
 
The first time I heard the Muslim call to prayer was three decades ago, on a hot, dusty afternoon in Cairo, where I was traveling with my college roommate. To my ear, the chant of the muezzin was strikingly atonal, hauntingly sinuous and insistent. It was not a sound that could be easily ignored by those who participated in the formal prayer rituals of that faith.
 
For a Christian believer, the call of Christ may be experienced as equally insistent. It will come, perhaps, when we are busy with the mundane tasks of the day—cooking a meal, folding laundry, waiting in a carpool line, walking across campus, whatever the twenty-first century equivalent is for us of Simon and Andrew fishing or James and John repairing their nets. How are we to respond to this call? Not reluctantly, not tentatively, not the next day, but immediately: Matthew drives the point home by repeating the adverb eutheos, from the Greek adjective that signifies being in a straight or direct line.
 
 
Jesus invites us to follow him as disciples both in the activities of our lives—seeing his face in the faces of all we encounter—and in our prayer. It is a re-orientation of our hearts and minds in the light of the love and mercy of God. Unlike a Google calendar invitation, there is no “Maybe” here. The call of Jesus carries with it a sense of urgency, an insistence not unlike the insistence of the call to prayer I heard so long ago in Cairo. The voice says, “RSVP—now.”
 
 

O God who calls us in the midst of life, give me the faith to respond to your invitation to follow you willingly, cheerfully, and promptly. Amen.

For today’ readings, click here.

Advertisement

Elizabeth Kirkland Cahill is an author, lecturer and Biblical scholar. She is the co-author, with Joseph Papp, of Shakespeare Alive! (Bantam Books), and is a contributor to Commonweal and America.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Sr. Christina Neumann
1 year 8 months ago
Thinking of the call of the early disciples can be very fruitful and encouraging for us as well as we think about our discipleship and strive to live it more faithfully. https://ourfranciscanfiat.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/i-have-decided/

Advertisement

The latest from america

 A photo panel shows Pennsylvania Bishops Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg, David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh, Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Alfred A. Schlert of Allentown, Edward C. Malesic of Greensburg and Lawrence T. Persico of Erie. The Pennsylvania attorney general released a grand jury report Aug. 14 on a months-long investigation into abuse claims spanning a 70-year period in the six dioceses. (CNS photo/courtesy of the dioceses)
The state’s attorney general said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims.
One of the leading novelists of our age on faith, fiction and his distrust of religious institutions.
James T. KeaneAugust 14, 2018
Panel members Ivor Frank and Alexis Jay at a public hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (courtesy of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse)
The new report finds evidence of appalling sexual and physical mistreatment of students as young as 7, as well as a culture of secrecy, at two abbey schools.
David StewartAugust 14, 2018
The Gospel calls on all of us to get past “analysis paralysis,” where direct action is always put off in favor of more research and discernment.
Mary M. McConnahaAugust 14, 2018