Recent Scripture readings at Mass were a great pause for reflection for anyone discerning about a direction for their life. The three were a combination of different characters being called to go beyond themselves for God.
Isaiah presents a reflection on his being touched by God to preach a difficult message to the people of Israel. Literally, Isaiah describes being touched on the lips by God as a sign that he is chosen as a prophet. Isaiah’s words become the Word of God to Israel. Isaiah speaks of God’s love and exhorts the Israelites to be more conscious of God and to follow God more sincerely. While God is forgiving, God does require faithfulness.
Paul is the author of the second reading and you might be familiar with his conversion from a persecutor of Christians to, perhaps, the most well known disciple. Paul explains that he is totally unworthy to be a messenger and disciple of Christ. His past record is not one conducive to being worthy of being chosen by God. However, Paul answers the call and becomes the missionary who preaches to many peoples about the power of Jesus.
In the Gospel story, God takes unknown characters and pushes them into a powerful role with Jesus. Jesus taps them to be his followers, to go beyond themselves, their failings and their pasts – to take on a new life of discipleship. They believe they are not worthy to go forth and preach as Jesus does. Yet, Jesus tells them that it is their time to heal, forgive and call others to follow the teachings of Jesus.
The Scriptures are full of such conversion stories. Many types of individuals, men and women, are touched by God or the presence of Jesus to go beyond themselves for the sake of faith. All of them have failings, faults and sinfulness. All of them want to be different and all are open to trusting the God who calls them into Christ.
Sounds like a cast of characters, right? Just like some of us! We all have our failings and weaknesses. Can you see beyond that side of yourself to a greater side of hope, faith and trust? God takes the least of us to do His work. Christ tapped the unusual to follow Him. Not one of us is going to do it right all the time. The question to ask is: can we do our best to be faithful, to learn daily and share often the powerful message of Christ? Can we move beyond ourselves for a greater love? That is the call of a vocation to Christ. That is the substance of a vocation.