Doesn’t sound fair…
“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’?
Jesus challenges the disciples beyond what they think they can do, and they challenge Jesus to “increase their faith.” In contrast to the gift of the kingdom, growing in discipleship is a task. In our lives there will always be plowing, tending sheep, raising kids and commuting in traffic. It’s work and real life requires work. St. Paul said that anyone who would not work should not eat.
The first task of a disciple is to feed the Christ-life within them. Just as a pregnant woman adjusts her lifestyle and diet to promote and protect the new life growing in her the disciple needs to promote and protect the life of Christ that is taking flesh in us through our conversion of life.
Perhaps the words “prepare supper for me and serve me while I eat and drink” are Jesus’ way of saying that we need to feed his life within us by daily spiritual practice. Putting on the apron is intentional and forms a boundary on us, a little bit of cloth that cinches together what can get in the way of service and helps us focus on what we need to do. By our intentional investment in prayer, scripture study, meditation and contemplation Christ eats and drinks through the faithful actions of our body and blood.
“Later you may eat and drink” implies that if we are faithful in serving the Christ-life that has been entrusted to us we will be nourished and grow to a new stature as disciples who receive life through thankful service. By preparing supper for Jesus, we are the ones who are fed.
The call to serve God’s presence after we get home from work does not mean that being a Christian is a vocation to perpetual drudgery. It means making a priority of growing in faith. This means that we, unlike slaves in Bible times, intentionally shape our lives so that like aprons we will have simple boundaries within our day to cinch up our hearts and minds with actions that help us prepare the supper in which we are fed by God.
Discerning a vocation is an intentional time of feeding the Christ-life within a young person. A young person has more free time, vigour and passion than older folks and more freedom than kids. It’s a time to be generous, daring and confident in preparing the feast of your life for God.
By Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director OMI Lacombe Canada
To contact Fr. Mark for advice about discernment and vocation direction. He can meet with you by phone to conduct a short vocation assessment to help you find your way. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an appointment.