What are the characteristics of God’s call?

23/01/2024 Por IAA

This Sunday’s readings highlight two words: call and conversion. What characterizes God’s call that leads to conversion?

We are all called to follow Jesus, and he does so in the same way in order to call us and make us instruments of conversion for ourselves and for others. In fact, when God calls someone to follow him, we always find 7 characteristics in that call:

1. God always takes the initiative

We find many verses in the Bible that say this: “You didn’t choose me, I chose you!” (John 15:16). 

God is the first to seek to establish, to build a relationship with each one of us. We see this in the call of Abraham (Genesis 12), Samuel (1 Samuel 3), with the Apostles, etc. 

Many Christians have never felt God’s call because they have never stopped to listen. Intimacy with God, prayer, is what helps me to hear him, discern and respond.

2. God calls the poor

God’s choice always goes against human logic. Everything that is small, simple, poor, humble and hidden is what God has chosen to do great things!

– Abraham and Sarah were over 75 years old, they couldn’t have children, but God promised them descendants more numerous than the stars!

– Moses couldn’t speak, he stuttered, he was a murderer, and God chose him to save his country and lead his people to the Promised Land!

– The Curé of Ars was a very simple priest who couldn’t remember Latin. He was the parish priest of a small village and became the patron saint of parish priests.

– The little shepherds of Fatima, to whom Mary announced extraordinary things, were simple children from poor families who herded animals.

Let’s not be afraid of our poverty! God always uses it!

3. God calls us by name

Our name is unique. Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Martha, Simon… Ruth.

If God calls me by my first name, then he already knows me! He knows who I am! My whole story matters to God. And I don’t have to erase this or that aspect of my life, how I feel, my thoughts, my character… 

“As Jesus was passing by, he looked up and, seeing Zacchaeus, called him by name: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for I must visit you today!” (Luke 19:5) I don’t have to deny who I am… On the contrary, by listening and responding to God’s call, I will become more and more myself…

4. God calls us first to be with him and only then to go, to leave!

When God calls, He wants to establish a personal relationship. Jesus “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach ” (Mark 3:14). He first calls us to be with Him, then He sends us out on mission. “Go! I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:3). “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19)

The call always has the mission in mind, the going – but first you have to get to know Him, be with Him!

5. Don’t be afraid! God reassures.

“Don’t be afraid Abraham, I will be with you”. “Don’t be afraid of Mary.” God keeps telling us “don’t be afraid” (365 times in the Bible, once a day) … We are afraid of the gaze of others; of not being free… Fear is the mark of sin in us. “In love there is no fear, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

6. God always calls for a promise of blessing, of abundant life

The promise made to Abraham was to become the father of a great nation. To Moses it was to free his people and bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. The promise made to Mary was a birth, and that all generations would call her blessed. The disciples were to become fishers of men. The call is always for more life, for unsuspected fruitfulness.

7. God calls us to “the salvation of the world”

The call doesn’t just concern me. The call is always for the salvation of the world. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)