Today the readings suggest we are both drawn to God and at the same time sent by God to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. This idea of publicly proclaiming our faith is not always very comfortable for Catholics, but we are invited to share our faith by the Lord Jesus himself.
Last week the Dominicans of the Central Province held their assembly, and I went. One of the speakers we heard was Sherry Wedell, the author of a book, Forming Intentional Disciples. She spoke of the importance for us to think of the need in the Church for disciples, and how we might understand better the process of becoming a disciple. One phrase she used was “drop the net”, which refers to the moment we hear about today in the gospel where the fishermen “drop their nets” to follow Jesus, the moment they choose to become disciples.
As we move into “Ordinary Time” (named, by the way for “ordinal” or numbers, not to distinguish it from the extraordinary), we begin with the important encounter of Jesus. We meet Jesus squarely in both readings, both a description of his divinity, as one through whom God speaks, and as one that seeks a definite choice to become disciples.
The first reading, though, cannot be thought of rightly as a reading that seeks to distance God from the people created in His image. Rather, it is through the Son, Jesus, that God speaks to us. The relationship is a personal one. Now, we encounter the very person of Jesus, Son of God, and we are able to know God because we know Jesus.
Notice how often in the Scriptures those who are sent forth are often the vehicles of God to others? Paul seeks out Timothy, Moses had Aaron, and Jesus seeks out disciples. This pattern continues in the first reading when Elijah seeks out Elisha, who is going about his daily routine. I wonder what it was in that encounter that led to the call of Elisha? Because much like the Apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, the response of Elisha is dramatic. He destroys the things of his former way of life to follow Elijah, and ultimately God, unreservedly.