Holy Moments Wk 4: An Invitation
Sunday 3rd Week in Ordinary Time: Holy Moments Week 4: An Invitation
We have been talking about holy moments and the book Holy Moments. As a matter of fact, this is the last week of our four part message series called Holy Moments. You can find all of the prior messages, or homilies, on our website saintmary.life
Remember a holy moment is a single moment in which you open yourself up to God. You make yourself available to him. You set aside personal preference and self-interest, and for one moment you do what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do.
No two Holy Moments are the same. Some are unexpected. Others are planned. Some are big, life altering decisions. Others will be forgotten in an hour or two. Some can impact countless lives. Others simply orient you back toward God.
The theme of today’s Gospel is invitation. Let’s explore today’s Gospel to see what potential holy moment God might be inviting you to have. We will explore seven specific invitations.
We begin with Jesus withdrawing to Galilee. Do you need to withdraw? Do you need a retreat? Do you need some time in silence and solitude to replenish your soul and renew your mind? Has life become too busy and overwhelming? Have things gotten out of control? Do you need to slow down and rediscover what matters most in life? If so, then perhaps God is inviting you to retreat.
The first reading, the responsorial psalm, and the gospel all tell us that in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen. Is there an area of your life covered in darkness? Is there a part of your mind or your heart that is hidden from God? What do you consume? Is your food or media content diet one of darkness? Perhaps God is inviting you to bring light into an area of your life overshadowed by darkness. Or perhaps there is a person or situation you know of that is overshadowed by darkness that desperately needs an infusion of light. Are you being called to be that light for another person?
Next comes a potential invitation to freedom. We heard Jesus say: “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent. Repent means to have a change in thinking, which leads to a change in heart, which leads to a change in behavior. It means to change our ways. Do you need, at this moment in your life, to turn away from something destructive and turn toward God? Is there a sin that has a stranglehold on your life? Is it time to call a spade a spade and turn to God for help? Is it time to go to the sacrament of mercy, to confession, and repent of all the things preventing you from being all that God made you to be?
Jesus also says: “Come after me.” Is Jesus, today, in the here and now, inviting YOU to follow him for the first time? Have you gone your entire life without anyone ever asking you if you want to be a follower of Jesus? Has that choice always just been made for you by someone else? Is it time to take ownership of your faith and leave all expectations and demands behind you to truly follow Jesus?
These days, we would like to go into psychological detail about the emotional needs of Peter and Andrew and their inner journey of searching for something, reaching out for more. We love to speculate about the dynamics of conversion. That is often our problem in answering Jesus’ call. If the call came to us, we would probably want discussions, some counseling, some research on decision-making as we weigh the options to ensure that we are responding to a genuine call. While we are doing all that, Jesus would move on to another town and we would miss the chance. That is what has been called “the paralysis of analysis.”
Discussion is easy. But, decision takes courage and strength. Discussions are a dime a dozen. Our life is shaped not by our discussions but by our decisions. Analysis is no substitute for decision which is the point this Gospel account is making to us. We follow Jesus by making a choice, not by launching a discussion. Jesus said, “Come after Me.” At once, they left their nets and followed. A key detail of this scene is found in the nets.
We want to know the rule of God in our life, forgiveness and growth in grace, the sense of belonging to a spiritual community, the peace of being united to God’s will — but we don’t want to give up the nets, the entanglements that trap us, that hold us back. These entanglements are not the responsibilities we have in our life because those can be ways of serving the Lord. Rather, these entanglements are the people and relationships that distance us and separate us from Christ.
We don’t want to give up gossiping, cutting corners, wrong relationships, immoral behavior, habits of arrogance, rash judgment or addictions. So, we try to find ways of having it both ways and we can’t. Those nets weigh us down and hold us tight. To know the kingdom of God in our life we have to be willing to leave behind the nets, the distorting entanglements of soul and heart and mind.
“They left.” That’s what the gospel says. “They left.” What are you holding onto that Jesus is inviting you to let go of today? Peter and Andrew dropped their nets. John and James let go of their boat and father. Potentially gut-wrenching decisions they had been putting off for years. But they dropped them. What will you drop today so that you can more freely give yourself over to the call to live and love as Jesus lived and loved?
The Gospel shows us the ones who left their nets and followed as Jesus gave them a new mission, new seas to sail, deeper purpose for their lives. For us, to follow Jesus is not a matter of leaving family, jobs, or residence. It’s a matter of leaving behind a way of living, and that can be far more difficult.
So for us, the problem is not where we live, but how we live; not how much we have, but what we do with it; not in finding the truth, but in embracing it.
The reign of God is open to all of us, if we are willing to risk a new way of living, to abandon the “paralysis of analysis” and make the commitment to Jesus Christ. We will experience the kingdom to the extent that we are willing to let some of those nets go. It’s hard to follow the Lord if we are dragging all kinds of tangled webs woven from bad memories, angers and sins.
Then we heard what else Jesus did: “He went. . . proclaiming the Gospel.” That is another invitation. Do you feel a growing fire within you to share the love that has been given to you? IN one way or another Jesus sends all of us to share the gift of our faith. Do you look upon a dark and dreary world and see how you can share the light of Jesus? Are you ready to share the Gospel? Remember Gospel means good news. You don’t have to be an expert or have a theology degree to tell other people about the good news God wants them to know. You can do it easily in a small group. We give you the tools to do that. How are you sharing the gift of our faith?
Jesus also went curing every disease and illness. Is today the day you finally have the courage to go to the God of miracles and ask for healing? Are you ready to make the leap and step out in faith, believing that Jesus has the power to cure every disease and illness?
Some Holy Moments are remembered forever. Some feel like a footnote. The scale matters not. What matters is whether or not we have the courage to respond when Jesus invites us to collaborate with him in a Holy Moment.
He is calling to you in the here and now, today. “Come after me.” “Come after me.”
There are many ways the Lord calls us and invites us. We discussed seven different ways today. We have a gift for you when you leave today, listing several ways you may be invited and how you can respond to God’s invitation.
The Lord is inviting you. Jesus says, “Come after me.’’
How is the Lord inviting you to come after him? How are you going to respond?