January 22, 2023
FOCUS: Our salvation is at hand.
In today’s Liturgy of the Word, we read about God’s power to fulfill promises. Acknowledging the darkness of life prior to the Messiah, the prophets assure us that there has always been the promise of our salvation. The Gospel proclaims this direct fulfillment of the words in Isaiah, and we know that it is only the beginning of what Jesus sets out to do. Our salvation is at hand.
What's in Your Heart
How did you experience your own call to ministry? Did it feel as if it came out of the blue for you, as it surely did for Peter and Andrew? Or was it a slower, more organic process, involving years of discernment, struggle, and questions?
At some point, did a leap of faith come into the picture? Doesn’t it always, when life’s most important decisions are made?
Fishermen figure prominently in today’s gospel, and the fisher motif has been a favorite with religious artists ever since. Art imitates life, the saying goes, but sometimes, it seems, life imitates art. Morris West’s blockbuster novel, The Shoes of the Fisherman, was published in 1963. The Cold War story revolved around a bishop from a country controlled by the former Soviet Union who is elected pope and must confront a complex geopolitical landscape. Tensions and troubles in China threaten to erupt into a world war involving all the superpowers. After declaring the 1968 film version of the story to be one of his favorite movies, President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, opening up the once isolated country to East-West dialogue. Then in 1978 the College of Cardinals elected as pope a bishop from a Soviet dominated country—Karl Wojtyla of Kraków, Poland, who would become John Paul II.
What does it mean to be “fishers of people”? Might it mean to try to live in such a way as to give others pause, to make them curious as to what it is that gives us our strength, or grace, or generosity, or joy, or whatever our particular spiritual gift might be? When we tend to and nourish our spiritual life, we give folks a reason to come a bit closer, to ask us about our faith, and—who knows—perhaps to be captivated by what they find!
You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge . . . is itself a frightful despotism.