In every call to follow Jesus, there is an implicit invitation to allow him to become our Teacher (Rabbi). One of the first lessons to learn is to place our absolute trust in the Lord, no matter where He may lead or whatever may be asked of us.
Geneis tells us that “Abram put his faith in the Lord, who attributed it to him as an act of righteousness. (Genesis 15:6) Moses was asked to act as God’s emissary on behalf of the people of Israel, to lead them out of slavery in Egypt. In doing so, he demonstrated great faith and trust in God, even in the face of his many doubts and questions. (Exodus 3-11) Young David, putting his trust in God, slew Goliath. (1 Samuel 17: 41-51)
In the Gospel, Jesus asks many people for demonstrations of faith (trust) that he might heal them and forgive them of their sins. Such was the case of the man with the withered hand placed his trust in Jesus who restored him to health. (Mark 3:1-6)
Jesus calls many to follow him. The first apostles were summoned by Jesus and they came to him. (Mark 3:13) They lived in intimate closeness with Jesus, growing in love for and knowledge of him as the Son of God. In a response of love, they trusted him to be their strength and they went forth to preach the Gospel and continue the Lord’s mission, making their ultimate confession of faith and trust by laying down their lives for him.
The saints of the Church also learned to trust in the Lord in all different circumstances and walks of life. This week we celebrated the feast of St. Anthony, Abbot, who was born in northern Egypt around the year 250. As a young man after his parents died, he felt called by the Lord to share his substantial inheritance with the poor. Placing his trust in the Lord, he gave himself completely over to solitude, work and prayer.
This call from Christ continues in the Church and world today, particularly in the life of all the baptized. For all the members of the Archdiocese of Seattle, we are embarking upon a significant reorganization of parish life this year. This will require great faith and trust in the Lord who is faithfully leading and guiding us, and asking us to be willing to leave behind some of the things that have become familiar in order to embrace a ‘new horizon’ where he already awaits us.
As the Lord walks this journey with us, he invites us to walk together, to welcome new members into our parish family, and to rediscover how he is asking us to preach the Gospel and continue his mission as the Body of Christ, the Church, today.