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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Jan. 26, 2014

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

January 26, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A. Readings:

1) Isaiah 8:23-9:3

Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14

2) 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17

Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23

Two years ago my life changed. In some ways it was a very common change, one that happens to people all the time. In other ways it was a meteoric shift. In short, I changed jobs, but the story is more involved than that.

Changing jobs meant leaving what had been my dream job back in 1986. I had longed to be a youth minister at my home parish and, at the age of 21, I had my dream come true. I stayed in that job for 25 years.

I suspected the change was coming. For a few years, I had been feeling a tug in my heart for a new challenge and a call to the mission field of young adult ministry. But when the call came, I was not "all in" at the beginning.

Saying yes to this call would mean leaving, in many ways, all I had known. It would mean leaving a place that was very much home, a team of individuals who had labored beside me for years, a church family that loved and supported me beyond belief and, most of all, I would be leaving a very comfortable place and going off into unfamiliar surroundings.

After much prayer and conversation with my ever-encouraging wife, I decided to take the plunge and answer the call of the Lord to minister to the young adult church. After all, for 25 years I had been sending youth into young adulthood where there is slim pickings when it comes to opportunities for faith growth. Two years into this ministry, I not only have no regrets, I feel like I am exactly where I need to be.

I imagine the disciples in this week's Gospel were in a similar situation. They had a comfortable life as fishermen, family men and faith-filled men. But then Jesus offered them a new way to fish, a new kind of family and a mind-blowing expansion of what they understood as faith.

To be sure, not every call carries such drastically life-changing circumstances, but every call entails some risk. As the saying goes: God does not call the qualified; he qualifies the called. Our part is to say yes to the prompting of the Spirit, knowing that God will be faithful to do his part as we answer the call.


Have you ever had a really tough decision to make in your life? What factors went into your decision? Have you ever felt called by God to do something? What was that like?


"He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him." -- Matthew 4:22


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