I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of tired. I am guessing that it is a result of the post-Christmas season let-down. This was the busiest Christmastide for me in a long time, but that is not a complaint; I was busy, as so many of us are at that time of year, but, for me at least, I can honestly say that it was all good. From December 15th through New Year’s Day night I had one commitment or another. Whether it was for a dinner or gathering, all of them were the result of an invitation. And while I may be tired now, and there were times that I pondered saying “no,” I am glad that I offered a “yes.”
The Scripture readings for this weekend are about invitation: God calling Samuel and the Lord Jesus calling his disciples. In the Gospel, the invitation is clear. The would-be disciples of Jesus asked where he was staying and he responds “come and see.” We know that this statement is not nearly as simple as it seems because this invitation was about far more than seeing where the Lord was dwelling; Jesus was inviting Andrew and the other unnamed disciple to a new and different life. They would come to understand the gravity of this invitation in short time since it was Andrew who in turn brought his brother Simon to the Lord simply stating “we have found the Messiah.” Samuel’s calling was not as clear as it was for Andrew and the other disciples. Samuel hears a call but he simply assumes that it is from his mentor Eli. The calling persists, God does not relent, and Samuel, through Eli’s help, comes to understand from whom the call is coming. While it took time for Samuel to understand that it was the Lord who was calling, nonetheless he gives the disciples perfect response: “speak, for your servant is listening.”
Like Andrew and Samuel, we are all being called by the Lord, but do not think that the call is just for one moment in time. The Lord’s call is continuous and unrelenting, and it demands the same response in kind. This is one of the many challenges that we face in our daily discipleship: our invitation to follow the Lord, our invitation to deeper life and love with him demands a daily response in faith and love, not one that is lukewarm and noncommittal. Have you ever invited someone to your home or to an event, one that you had poured much love, energy, time, your whole self into only to get a lack luster response, or a response that is almost one of inconvenience? The life that God is inviting us to is one in which he has poured the total gift of himself into, not for his own need or gratification, but for our ultimate good. All too often our response is non-committal, cautious, half-hearted, or even an outright refusal by some.
Is answering the Lord’s without challenge? No, and we see that demonstrated in the lives of Andrew and Samuel as well as in our own lives. Nevertheless, the invitation remains. What is holding us back from making a total yes to the Lord’s invitation: false priorities, uncertainty, fear? Will answering the Lord’s call mean that your life will not always be easy? Yes. Will answering the Lord’s call mean that your life is not about you? Yes. Will answering the Lord’s call involve dying to yourself? Yes. Will answering the Lord’s call offer you something that the world cannot? Oh yes…eternal life with him. Let us seek the grace to make that daily “yes” to the Lord’s invitation to follow him, to walk in his light, and to live in his love.
Father Christopher House is the Rector-Pastor of the Cathedral and serves in various leadership roles within the diocesan curia, specifically Chancellor and Vicar Judicial.