little to GREAT
Sunday 3B Ordinary Times
Sometimes when facing my imperfections, I asked myself this question: “Who am I that God not only let me know Him but also called me to proclaim his Gospel?” I would like to invite you to briefly meditate on the vocation stories of the prophet Jonah and of the first apostles of Jesus so as to be more confident and grateful for our own vocations.
First: the prophet Jonah. As we all know, God sent him to Niniveh to warn the people about their sinful ways of living that could lead to destruction. Jonah did not want to go there. He even looked for ways to run away from this call. Perhaps he was reluctant to face challenges, or he was afraid of dangers from those aggressive inhabitants, or he was aware that he was no better than them, or merely that he did not consider them important to him…. Anyway, God still put His confidence in Jonah and entrusted him with this important mission. After having been saved by God from dangers of the sea, he went to tell the people about their state of being. At that time, Jonah might have felt unconfident and frightened, but the result was surprising to his imagination: the people that were notorious for bad conducts repented and turned back to God’s way, everyone: from the king to his subjects, from the old to the young, from people to animals. Jonah’s words saved the whole people.
Next: the first apostles of Jesus, among whom are Simon, Andrew, James and John (Mc 1:14-20). The majority of them were ordinary country people with simple works. They were limited in their talents and social skills. Yet, the Master Jesus still came to these simple “fisherman” and entrusted them with the mission of “fishers of men”. They immediately followed him. And, the result of their response is more than amazing: a multitude of people have come to know the Gospel of love and have been happy, including you and me.
One time I heard a story between two students of theology. One student asked: “Do you plan to write some reflections on the Lord to share with your friends online, for example facebook?” The other student replied: “No. Other people have written things that I want to write about. I don’t want to repeat what they have said. Besides, they have done a better job.” Perhaps that student had his own reason and plan when he said so. However, in my observation of life, if he writes something good about Jesus, his sharing would still be valuable because he lives in a unique time and place.
My friend, Jonah, the apostles and other disciples of Jesus didn’t need to do something extraordinary. All they did was to follow God’s call with confidence, cooperate with His grace working in them and proclaim His love in their daily activities. “Miracles” can happen when we cooperate with the grace of God. The Holy Spirit can use any good work of ours to help us and others. This gives us hope and confidence in what we do out of compassion, even when it looks quite insignificant. Doing little things with great love is greater and hollier than performing big things with little love.
May God bless us all and our vocations.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.