God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called! (Rick Yancy)
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because a servant does not know what his master is doing. I call you friends because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name … that you may love one another.” (John 15: 14-17)
“God equips the called / the chosen”. As I read and pray with the scriptures, I am constantly intrigued and mystified with WHO God calls, and the inadequacies and short-comings that they bring to their call.
Abram was called by God to be “the father of a great nation”. Problem: at the time of his “call”, he was an old man (close to 100 years old), and Sarai, his wife, was also old (nearly 90 years old), and besides, she was barren; she never could have children. How can anyone have a large family, a great nation, at this age? Yet God, in his mercy and generosity and goodness, gave them a son in Isaac .. and the story and legacy continues, because of Abraham’s faith and trust in God. What was impossible to these people becomes possible with God’s intervention.
The different prophets each had their own complaint / reason why God should not call them! For example: Jeremiah (1: 6-7) “Ah, Lord God, Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” God’s reply: “Do not say “I am only a boy” for you shall go to all whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Gird your loins; stand up and tell them everything that I command you (v.17). They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, to deliver you (v.19).
Moses, whose name means “to pull out / draw out” (of the water), begins his life in peril. Yet, through the ingenuity and hopefulness of his mother, and subsequent circumstances, Moses’ life is not only spared, but he ends up in the home of the enemy (Pharoah). Later in life, when the people of Israel were enslaved and mistreated by Pharoah’s men, Moses kills one of these men who is beating on one of the slaves. Yet, this is the person God calls to “set his people free”? Moses is not only a murderer, he can’t even speak properly – it seems Moses had a speech impediment, a terrible stutter. Why would God choose someone like Moses to respond to one of his most incredible (unbelievable) acts of kindness and mercy? Because God saw in Moses a leader, someone who could / would, with God’s intervention, enact one of the greatest feats of deliverance. Moses was called to live up to his name – to “pull out” the people from slavery, to save their lives, to call them to truly live as God’s people!
Jonah (1:2-3) God said to Jonah: “ Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me”. But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish – he didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he knew the power of God’s word. He didn’t want the people of Nineveh to experience God’s forgiveness; he wanted Nineveh to be dealt with according to their wickedness (punishment, not mercy). But God’s goodness prevails – a whale spits Jonah out on the shores of Nineveh – and the people repent, much to the chagrin of Jonah. God’s mercy will always prevail, even in our stubbornness and retribution.
St. Paul reminds the Romans: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
God called Mary, the daughter of Anna and Joachim, to be the mother of his Son, Jesus. Mary, a simple, obscure teenager from Nazareth … can anything good come out of Nazareth? Well, wait and see! It was through her faith and openness to God, through the request of an angel, that we today have Jesus, our Lord and Messiah, our invitation into the fullness of life, even eternal life.
And again, Joseph, an unknown, obscure carpenter from Nazareth is called to be the foster-father of Jesus. His “calling” also comes through an unbelievable, preposterous request. An “angel” comes to him in a dream, telling him that his betrothed would become pregnant “through the Holy Spirit” (really? How can this be possible?). God calls Joseph because he was a “good and righteous man”. Even though Joseph didn’t know and understand all the implications of this request, in trust and faith he still said YES.
In our Baptism, we are call by name, predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son (Romans 8:29). God will always take us as we are, with our foibles and short-comings, and will bring GOOD from it all. Our baptism empowers, enables us to respond in faith-hope-love, as did so many other people who have gone before us. So…wherever you go, go with God. Whenever you go, go make a difference, for the praise and glory of God.
St. Joseph … pray for us
St. Philip Neri … pray for us
St. Eugene de Mazenod … pray for us
Praise be Jesus Christ, and Mary Immaculate
Fr. Mike Dechant OMI
Something from the Parish:
September 8th was the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast celebrates Mary’s personal sanctity and vocation (calling) as the mother of Jesus. As Oblates of Mary Immaculate, this is also a day of celebration when many Oblates profess their first vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and perseverance as an Oblate of Mary Immaculate. Sixty-two years ago our beloved Fr. Bill Stang said his YES to serve the People of God as an Oblate. Congratulations and blessings Fr. Bill. Thanking you for your untiring service and dedication as an Oblate priest, and your ministry here at St. Philip Neri Parish.