Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A

d65ea00f2df44724c8a6a0b73458387fAnswering the Call

What does it take to answer the call of God? Obviously we must first hear the call. Peter, Andrew, James, and John heard the call from Jesus himself. We read from today’s Gospel:

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.   (Matthew 4:18-22)

Have we heard a call from God on our lives? If so, then we must choose to respond to that call. Not hearing a call might mean not wanting to respond to that call. Why would anyone want to respond to a call that might totally disrupt their lives?

The ministry of Jesus Christ was and is disruptive. For those who see this world as a very dark place this disruption is good news:

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.   (Isaiah 9:2-4)

How do we see this world? How does this present world compare to a world that we might be able to imagine or desire? The psalmist seeks a place that is entirely foreign to this world:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
the Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?

One thing have I asked of the Lord;
one thing I seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

To behold the fair beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.   (Psalm 27:1, 5-6)

When we hear God’s call we are then offered choices. God is continually calling us. Our lives become a series of choices. Because of the courageous choices of the early disciples of Christ we have a glorious path to follow. What will be our path and our example for those who follow after us?

The Season of the Epiphany is a time of examine choices. It offers us turns in the road. One turn may lead to greater light while the other may lead to a retreat into greater darkness. We often do not chose the right path because we fear the unknown that may confront us. The psalmist writes:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom then shall I fear?
the Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom then shall I be afraid?   (Psalm 27:1)

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Filed under Epiphany, homily, Jesus, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, Year A

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