Recently I saw on a facebook a vocations promotion for a Diocese that went around and asked people, what do you think makes a good priest. I began to think is this how God decides to call a man to the priesthood? When God considers what to call us to, does he say “oh he is kind, compassionate, and hard-working. He would make a great priest.” When we look at the men, he called in this weekend’s reading I’m not too sure if our God looks at those he calls in the same way.
First, take a look at the Prophet Isaiah. In the reading today we see God give him a vision that Isaiah immediately turns away from. Isaiah believed he was unworthy to see this great vision and because of who he was and the bad things he did, he was doomed for seeing this vision. He calls himself a man of unclean lips, living among people of unclean lips. Did God look at Isaiah and say, “he would make a great prophet?”
Secondly, we hear of the calling of some of Jesus first disciples. Peter James and John who were fishing on the sea of Galilee. After preaching to the crowds on their boat, Jesus tells them to go into the deep and cast your net for a catch. Now either it was just a bad night for fishing, or maybe these three men are only not good fishers. As we may know these three men end up catching a surprising number of fish. However, instead of saying “Jesus you just made our year, this is enough fish to last us for weeks!” Peter gets on his knees and falls before the Lord saying “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Then Jesus calls Peter to become a fisher of men, to put it another way, Jesus was calling Peter James and John to follow him and bring more people to follow Jesus.
Again, what does Jesus see in these men that he wants to make them a part of his first trusted 12 men who would bring the good news to the entire world? What I suspect is that Jesus didn’t look on them and say, Wow look at all of these great qualities; instead he saw what his grace, what his power could go through them. I even suspect that Jesus saw their littleness, their insignificance and out of that called them to become great witnesses to the Gospel and great saints.
In our world, we typically look at the qualities the gifts someone will bring to an organization. You want to have a good lawyer look for someone who is confident in his appearance, who could win an argument that was brought before him and maybe even win an argument he disagrees with. When looking for a good salesperson, you look for a guy who could sell you the shirt off your back!
However, does God when calling us to a vocation call us based the best of what we are? Does he look at us and say “how great of a man or woman they would be for my church.” Or does God look at us in who we are both as his creation, his beloved sons and daughters, and too in our weakness our littleness and our nothingness.
God has a vocation for all of us to follow. He created us for a specific vocation in our lives that even our weaknesses will bring about God’s great glory! For example, St. Therese was not much of a gifted individual, she died at a young age in her 20s, she speaks that she dealt with scruples and even later in life she was faced with great darkness. However, she is venerated as a Saint and even a doctor of the Church. I would argue that it isn’t because St. Therese is a great person who then became a great saint. Instead, I would say God made St. Therese a great saint and all St. Therese did was allow Jesus to make her into this great saint.
All of us have many gifts and talents that we can offer the Church, however, I believe our God looks on us not for what we can give to him but to show his grace and his power can transform us to be more like him and become his sons and daughters and too even become great saints!
When I look at the people Jesus called to make his disciples I say to myself. “weren’t the better candidates to lead the Church?” Maybe there was, but God knew of the great work he could do through these 12 men. We too may think “how could I ever amount to anything important when I have these struggles, and I see people who are more naturally talented and gifted than me.” However by God’s grace no matter how talented and gifted we may appear to the world or not, God can make us into his great saints. For whatever God calls us to, may we have the confidence to accept his will for us, and allow his grace to transform us!