The Readings today are about responding to God’s call. Jesus said in Matthew 22:14, Many are called, but few are chosen. Traditionally, this is interpreted as the call to priesthood or religious life. Yet, we can also apply this to any situation in life. God calls everyone to himself. But not everyone responds to that call. For those who do not respond to God’s call to holiness, they will not be chosen. But those who respond to that call, will be chosen by God. The choosing does not depend on God. Instead, it depends on us. Our being chosen by God depends on whether we respond to that call or not. We see this clearly in the Second Reading. Paul speaks of anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. When we respond to God’s call to holiness, we unite ourselves to the Lord and become one with him. This is why St Paul reminds the Corinthians: Shun fornication! Those who are united in the Lord will not corrupt themselves by sinning against the body itself.
Responding to the call of God goes beyond being baptized, or coming to mass, or praying the formal prayers of the Church. While these may be a good start, these are enough to be chosen by God. The two disciples in the Gospel today show what it means to respond to the call. They heard their Teacher, John the Baptist point Jesus to them. These two disciples left John the Baptist and followed Jesus. They were not disappointed because when Jesus turned, he asks them: what are you looking for? When they responded they want to know where he is staying, Jesus invited them: Come and see. When we come to Jesus and tell him we want to know where he stays, he invites us to come and see. We will not see where Jesus dwells if we do not come to him.
After staying with Jesus that night, Andrew went to Simon, his brother, and told him we have found the Messiah. Simon was probably reluctant to come, which is why Andrew had to bring Simon to Jesus. And when Simon met Jesus, Jesus immediately gave Simon a new name: Cephas, from which we get Peter. This change of name means Jesus is giving Simon a new direction in his life. Simon becomes a new person. New, does not mean he was changed instantly, but Simon’s life is changed. His goal in life was not just to be a fisherman, but to be a follower of Christ.
This is what Christ’s call to follow him means. It is to change our perspective in life, to change our priorities in life so now, we are not only concerned about our material needs, but now, we are concerned with following Jesus, coming and seeing where he stays and doing what he wants. This requires listening to him. Which is why when the boy Samuel was called by the Lord twice, in the First Reading, Eli told Samuel to respond to that call and say: Speak, for your servant is listening. The First Reading tells us: as Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. This happened because Samuel listened to the Lord and he spoke what the Lord wanted him to say.
When we respond to the call of Jesus, we decide to change the direction of our life. And Jesus will honor that. But this requires constant and continual commitment to listen to and obey Jesus. A believer of Jesus obeys him. We can only obey when we listen to him. Many are called but few are chosen. As we said, the choosing depends on our response to that call. This response is not one moment in our lives, but requires a life time commitment to listen and obey God’s call. This is the only way to be chosen by God. This is the only way to holiness.
Lord, help me to hear you and respond to your call. Give me courage to persevere and to do what you will.