by Beth De Cristofaro
No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God. Hebrews 5:4
No one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins. Mark 2:22
Thank you, God, for inviting the human family to share in your divinity. Thank you, also, for the life of Dr. Martin Luther King who strove for and reminded us all of our human dignity. Thank you for the talents you give to me with which to serve you. Help me share those talents according to your will. Help me share those talents despite my own fears, prejudices, incomplete knowledge or skills. Help me learn from my sufferings and offer you my joys. I trust in your mercy and your love for me.
May the soul of Dr. Martin Luther King eternally rest in your loving peace. Amen.
Recent readings, and today, illustrate “callings.” God calls to Creation through:
John, “the voice of one crying out in the desert” (Jn1:23) who identified the “man…coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.” (Jn 1:30)
Jesus’s special companions: Andrew who brought Simon to Jesus (Jn 1:42). Phillip and Nathaniel (Jn 1:43, 45); Levi the tax collector (Mk 2).
Paul, who was himself called (Acts: 9) lists gifts given to every person and by which every person is called to serve God through sharing their talents. (1 Cor 12)
Today’s first reading talks about the call to service as priest. “No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God.” (Heb 5: 4)
Who are these people? God called a fanatic who ate locusts, illiterate fishermen, a tax collector who in those days was an assumed thief and collaborator, a bigot (Nathaniel said “Can anything good come from
All of these people – all of us - are called. The incomplete and often unproductive service of humans is uplifted, purified and fruitful because God chose humanness through the life and death, the obedience and acceptance of His Son.
What are we called to do? Can we accept that our limitations cause us to be like other humans, also called in their unique ways? Are we willing to look beyond the limitations of others, as God looks beyond ours, and see the Other as God’s beloved child? Can we see ourselves and others invited to and partying at the wedding feast because the bridegroom invited us? (Mk 2) We must work to be new wineskins in order to bring the Word to the world as He calls us.
“Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” (Mk 2:22)
Today, on the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King, take stock of your own prejudices and biases. Be very aware; look at each person as someone beloved of and called by God rather than as someone who you have already defined because of your upbringing, life situation or current events. This is the kernel of unconditional love. That is the call.