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Friday, 24 January 2020 16:24

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 2020

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD


Sunday Reflection_3rd Sunday 2020

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150The gospel text in today’s Mass reminds us of two important realities in our life of faith – God sometimes chooses people to carry out special tasks – and if they accept God’s call it can mean that they make their calling a priority in their life and leave go of some things that are no longer all that important to them.  If we feel that we are chosen, then it is up to us whether or not to accept God’s call.  But, even if we are faithful disciples of Christ but do not feel especially chosen (we have to remember that Jesus had hundreds of disciples, but He chose only twelve for the special task of being an apostle – a messenger of God’s good news) we can praise God for those who were chosen to carry out God’s special task and can often stand in awe of the generosity of their response.

As I thought about this mystery of God’s love and of the people chosen by God who responded with an enthusiastic “yes” to being chosen I praised God for them and thanked God for letting me be part of their lives.  The first ones I thought about were two classmates of mine.  They were lovely people who felt called by God to be priests, but there was all through their years of study one obstacle that seemed to stand in the way.  All our lectures were in Latin and they could never learn Latin well enough to follow the lectures.  So I would spend time each afternoon going through the material with them in English.  I felt that they truly were chosen people.  They made it through to ordination.  One was assigned to Papua New Guinea and spent fifty years doing “bush missionary work”.  He did remarkable things in that time building up the Church of God.  The other was assigned to the United States.  He, and the Bishop of the diocese he worked in, discovered he had a very special gift from God to do marriage counselling.  He not only saved many marriages but he also was able to teach some other priests how to do marriage counselling.  I stand in awe of what both of them did.

But I have known not only priests but also lay people who realised that God was choosing them for a special task and so gave themselves to it with total dedication.  The first one I met who was such a person was one I met while still a young priest.  I was helping in a parish in Baltimore.  There was a mother of eight children who ran the baptism program.  As I got to know her well I realised just how qualified she was to run the program.  She used to say to me laughing: how can you priests talk to these women about what it means to be born again to God when you never have experienced what it means to give birth?  I used to visit her often in the following years and I was always amazed at how many women would come up to her to talk while we were having lunch in a restaurant because they knew she would understand their joy of being a mother.  I had to just sit there quietly and praise God for the choosing that God gave her in life.  There are so many other men and women I could tell stories about – people that God chose for a special task who said an enthusiastic “yes” to their calling.