Surprised by God
Our God is a God of surprises.
Imagine the folks gathered in Bethlehem when Samuel announces that David is the Lord’s anointed. In a society where the firstborn son had pre-eminence, where a warrior leader was idolized, it would be inconceivable that a boy, the youngest of the family, one who spends his days tending the flock of sheep would dream of this kind of future. Imagine David’s reaction when Samuel anoints him to be the successor to Saul as King. This would be beyond is wildest imaginings and he was probably filled with questions, doubts and fears. And yet, God chose David.
Imagine the reaction of the man born blind when Jesus restores his sight. Having been blind from birth, it will take him time to adjust to being sighted – the world will be new and unfamiliar. Everything he learned about his environment and the people around him will have to be relearned! Now that he can “see”, he sees Jesus and responds to his invitation to believe. His whole life becomes a new experience; he will never be the same again. We see the reaction of the scribes and Pharisees to this marvelous moment. Even though they are sighted, they are blind to the invitation of God to grow in their faith and to live that faith in a new and vibrant way.
Today, God calls people to religious life and priesthood. I firmly believe that! But like the folks in Bethlehem, like David, we don’t recognize the call because we think that God only calls “the holy, the perfect, the strong, the others, the faithful individuals” to religious life and priesthood. He couldn’t possibly be calling me – imperfect, immature and struggling with living my faith, questioning, too young, too uneducated, etc. But no one fits the “ideal” that we think God would require. God calls ordinary people to follow as disciples and to serve their fellow disciples and the world. Like the blind man (who was not able to see until healed) and the Pharisees (who would not see), we often fail to see the signs of God’s presence and work in our midst and the signs that God is calling me, and others, to a particular vocation. God invites us to open our eyes and hearts to possibilities and surprises.
By Richard Beaudette, OMI