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God equips the called ...

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 66(65):4 — “All the earth shall bow down before You, O God, and shall sing to You, shall sing to Your name, O Most High!”

First Reading: Is 49:3, 5-6 — “I will make you a light to the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10 — “Here am I, Lord; I come to do Your will.”

Second Reading: 1 Cor 1:1-3 — “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Alleluia: Jn 1:14a, 12a — Alleluia, alleluia.“The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted Him He gave power to become children of God.” Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Jn 1:29-34 — “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 23(22):5— “You have prepared a table before me, and how precious is the chalice that quenches my thirst.”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t call us … we’ll call you?” If you think about it, I believe that’s probably another way of saying, “If we want to talk to you, it will need to be on our own terms … when and if we’re ready ... and it will be on our own schedule.” Now ask yourselves this. How often do we say that ... or have we said that to God? We hopefully feel and know that God is important to us ... but we still like to think that we’re the ones who are in control ... we’re the ones who are ultimately in control of our relationship with Him. Maybe we think we have other priorities or obligations ... sports, work, school ... whatever. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending how you choose to look at it) ... for us, God doesn’t work that way. God is in control, and when God calls us, God doesn’t want to be put “on hold.”

Saint Paul recognized that he was called by God “to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.” At first, he didn’t understand what that meant, but he came to realize that his role was to announce the Good News of God’s salvation to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. We are Christians, here and now ... today, as a result of Saint Paul’s saying “yes” to his call.

Isaiah heard a similar call. He realized that he was formed as God’s servant in his mother’s womb so that not only the tribes of Israel would know of God’s salvation, but that all the nations “to the ends of the earth” would know God.

Jesus, in His baptism in the Jordan, also heard God’s call to announce the kingdom of God. It was revealed to John the Baptist that Jesus was “the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit” when the dove came down upon Jesus at His baptism. And in our own baptism, we too are called to that same ministry of Jesus. The prayer of anointing after Baptism puts it this way: “Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has freed you from sin, given you new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and joined you to His people. He now anoints you with the Chrism of salvation, so that you may remain as a member of Christ, Priest, Prophet, and King unto eternal life.”

Yes, we are called to be like Christ the Priest … we are called to be holy and to offer prayer for ourselves and for all those in need. We are called to be like Christ the Prophet … we are to speak God’s Word of love and mercy to a world that is desperate to hear it. We do this by what we say, by what we do, and by how we act toward others ... just think ... “WWJD” ... “What Would Jesus Do?” We are called to be like Christ the King … to live life as members of God’s royal family, free from sin and death.

Why are so many of us tempted to put off answering God’s call in our lives? Maybe some of us feel that we don’t have the gifts needed to answer. God couldn’t possibly want me, could He? And of course, if you read the books of the prophets in the Bible, many, if not all, of them felt the same way. In the end, we know that God does not call the equipped … God equips the called.

So, I think it goes without saying. Don’t put God “on hold.” Like Saint Paul and the Prophet Isaiah, like the Blessed Virgin Mary and Samuel, please say, “Here I am Lord” “Yes, I come to do your will.” Do it so that everyone can still know God’s salvation “to the ends of the earth.” Remember, as we approach the Lord’s table each and every week, we present ourselves to do the work that God has called us to do. We are called here today to be participants, not spectators. And when we receive the Lord’s Body and Blood, we are given the strength we need to answer His call … God does not call the equipped … God equips the called.

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