Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 21, 2018)

In today’s Gospel we experience Jesus preaching “the kingdom of God is at hand,” as He invites several fishermen to come after him. St. Francis de Sales notes:

God has many ways of calling men and women to service. God uses preaching more than any other form to convert individuals. Through the ministry of preaching God has touched the hearts of many people, and called them to special vocations. Preaching is like a divine seed cast into the ground of our hearts by the words of preachers.

God touches others while they are reading good books. Still others when they hear the holy words of the Gospel while being read. There are others who were disturbed by the misfortunes, troubles and sufferings that befell them in the world. Still, even if God is all-powerful and can do anything, God does not want to take away the gift of freedom given to us. Whenever God calls us to service, He wants us to come willingly and not out of force or compulsion.

Nonetheless, even if some people come to God’s service because they are disgusted with the world or because some sorrows and afflictions trouble them, they can still give themselves to God freely and willingly. Our sufficiency is from our Redeemer who taught us how to be fit ministers and capable of doing God’s will. One who abides in Christ partakes of his divine Spirit, who is in the midst of our hearts as a living fountain. Through the love the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts, the frail reeds of our actions are turned to gold. Our hearts, flooded with the love of the Holy Spirit, produce sacred actions that tend towards immortal glory and carry us to it.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially his Spiritual Conferences, I. Carneiro, Ed.)