HOMILY & IDEAS

Turning Over Stones

A couple of weeks ago it was confirmed by God that we are following the right guy; for He says plainly -- This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. When we fall on our faces we all need to take out that piece of scripture to remind us of it is we can get ourselves back on the right path -- by following Jesus.

Last week, John the Baptist gives us a great example of what it takes to get nominated for a lifetime achievement award for the best prophet in a supporting role. He plainly says -- I am not the Christ. Instead he readily accepts his role as a preparer -- as a pointer.

This week our minds are filled with call stories. We read of the call of Peter, Andrew, John and James. Fisherman. Ordinary guys. God has a wonderful habit of doing this kind of thing. God is filled with surprises.

What a cast of characters we see called in scripture: Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, and Paul to name but a few.

They all come up with excuses when they are called upon or prompted to get up and take action -- and to their credit they all do respond in the end.

Moses says he can not speak in public, Isaiah says that the kind of speech that has passed through his lips are too impure to be a prophet, Jeremiah says that he is too young, In the Gospel of Luke Peter claims that he is too sinful, and Paul says that he is unworthy.

God is also filled with surprises. Sara says that she is too old to have a child. Mary says that she is too young for she has not yet known man. Small young men like David are not supposed to be able to slay a giant and hungry lions are supposed to tear apart what looks like a free meal in the person of Daniel.

Yet we learn that nothing is impossible with God.

It is clear that God does what God wills.

Mary may have been sinless; however the cast of characters that God has chosen throughout salvation history to be his instruments of justice, mercy, love and compassion have been colorful, earthy individuals.

Still, we often do ourselves the disservice -- and Satan loves this gimmick -- of consistently disqualifying ourselves from ever considering ourselves to be called by God to be his instruments. We may understand intellectually that God has chosen many people like ourselves to be his workers; but it ends there. Spiritually we lower our heads, walk into the darkness, and jump on the ever-revolving merry-go-round of unworthiness that never stops for the hope of being called.

We may say to ourselves -- Where is my burning ember to purify my mouth? Where is my vision? Where is my voice from God? Where is my miraculous conversion moment? All these folks were called in a really big way. Where is my big call? A big call wipes out unworthiness. Wrong.

Over these many postings I have mentioned a handful of key, foundational blocks that I am convinced need to be in place in order to feel loved by and connected to God.

One of them is seeing oneself as an instrument of the love and goodness of God.

Here is how it works for me: God is love. God gives us all good things.

If you buy those two premises -- and I wholeheartedly do -- then it follows that anytime we have an impulse to love or do something good, then we recognize that it comes from God.

The impulse comes from God, the love comes from God, the good things come from God.

The impulse declares us called. The love and goodness flows through us as instruments.

Every tugging, pulling, pushing, and little voice in ones head prompting to do something beautiful for another person is a call.

Every prompting to share something good is a call.

We are sinners. We are characters. Yet, we are still called. We are still instruments. God does what God wills.

If we get stuck in the rut of thinking -- I do these loving actions simply because I am a mother, father, wife, husband, family member, caregiver, teacher, mentor, CEO, nurse, doctor, social worker, etc., and these actions are just expected of me, then we dismiss from where these impulses come from and from where the source of all love flows -- God.

Jesus asks first

God loves first

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