Friday, January 13, 2017

Called by Name

S. Zdislavae de Moravia
S. Zdislavae de Moravia (O.P.)
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Called by name
Lectio
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" (which translated means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah," which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas," which is translated Peter.(JN 1:35-42)
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John tells us who’s coming. Ver. 29. Behold the Lamb of God. John the Baptist let the Jews know who Jesus was. He’s the sacrifice who comes to redeem them. And that He is greater than he, (John) and greater than any man before and after him. Ver. 32. John saw the Holy Spirit descent upon Jesus and baptize Him. Finally, in Ver. 34. John announces that this is the Son of God.

To be called by a Rabbi was no small thing. It was an honor, which explains why these chosen men left their jobs to follow this Lamb of God, the Son of God. Ver. 37-38. So these two follow Jesus. He takes notice of them and asks what they want Ver. 38. They don’t answer directly but humbly, implying that they want to learn more from him. They want more than a conversation. They want to be His students. Ver. 39. Where dwellest thou? Jesus understands and invites them to come and see.

Andrew was one of these followers. Ver. 40. After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew finds his brother, Simon Peter. Simon goes to see himself because Andrew tells him that this Man is the Messiah. Ver. 42. When Jesus meets Simon, He changes Simon’s name to Cephas (Peter). Note that giving someone a new name signifies dignity.

This day, January 4, also celebrates two memorials. Elizabeth Ann Seton, August 28, 1774 – January 4, 1821, was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Church (September 14, 1975). She established the first Catholic girls' school in the nation in Maryland, where she also founded the first American congregation of religious sisters, the Sisters of Charity. Also on this day is the memorial of Blessed Zedislava Berkiana. Bl. Zedislava, 1220-1251, was a Lay Dominican. She was a married woman who was known for her piety and generosity.
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John the Baptist’s role is the same as ours—to point Jesus out to others. Then we let them go in their own journey. Jesus’ question at that time is the same question to us in our time, “What are you looking for?” We’re looking for a relationship with Jesus. “Come, and you will see” (John 1:39). If you are sincere then commit yourself. Will you accept Jesus, like our two holy women (ST. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Bl. Zedislava Berkiana)? Are you ready to go on an unexpected journey? This might involve change. Are you OK with that?

The Documents of Vatican II spell out a vocational call just like Jesus does in this Lectio. Our vocational call, begun at Baptism and affirmed in Confirmation, is our promise to enter into a relationship with Jesus. You are called to holiness, to be perfect like your Heavenly Father. This call may ask you to convert like Elizabeth Ann Seton and start initiatives. It may call you to uphold your family and support them with prayer. Are you being called to grow deeper in your commitment by becoming a Lay Dominican like Zedislava Berkiana? It will be a communal call to relationship with Jesus, carried out in various lifestyles, depending on what we are attracted to and for what we discern we have as gifts.
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Lord, Our God, thank you for the insights we have received, for desires awakened and thoughts clarified, for the gifts of sensitivity and understanding. Thank you especially for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Grant us the power of the Spirit to discern the best way to respond to Your invitations. Give us the determination and perseverance to continentally respond as Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Bl. Zedislava Berkiana. We ask this in the name of Jesus.
Contemplatio: 
Lord, thank you for my many gifts.  May I delight You with my efforts to live up to Your expectations. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Blessed Zedislave Berkiana pray for us.

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