God calls, using many voices


God calls, using many voices

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  John 20: 21

It would be very simple to put all the focus on Thomas as we reflect on the story of this post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus; but that would do a disservice to the other disciples who were gathered in that house. We would also miss the importance of the need for the support of community in living out one’s discipleship.

ALL the disciples were locked away out of fear. They were probably commiserating with each other about their lot, having lost their teacher and master; feeling dejected, alone and perhaps even despairing. Thomas, in a sense, symbolizes the mood, doubt and questioning of all the disciples.

Notice that Jesus chooses to appear to the whole community of disciples. He does not single them out and approach them one by one. Their faith and their discipleship will grow and be lived out in community, not in isolation. Each one will fulfill his or her vocation as a disciple in the context of the community of disciples, with the support, encouragement and care of all the others. It is as a community of disciples that Jesus sends them forth. True, each one will have to do their individual part in living out that vocation and each one will have to make a personal choice to respond to the call of Jesus. But it is done with the care and support, and in the context, of a community of disciples.

Reflecting on my own vocation as an Oblate, I can easily recognize that the call was communicated through the members of a small, rural parish community of which I was a member while living on the farm. The people of that community continually encouraged me to take leadership in the community, to share faith with them, to assist them to pray and celebrate as a small community that did not have a priest present on a regular basis. It was through their encouragement that I eventually (slow at catching on sometimes!) realized that God was calling me to religious life and priesthood.

I believe strongly that our parish communities play a vital role in calling and encouraging each member in their vocation – first of all as disciples of the risen Lord, and then in particular vocations within our Church. Each member of the community, and the community together, is called to listen for the voice of the Spirit and encourage members in their particular vocations.

By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team – East