How do you respond to God’s call? In all three of this Sunday’s readings, we hear about people who felt unworthy to do God’s work…but who went forth anyway.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
This Sunday is the last of the Sunday alleluias until we break our fast at the Easter Vigil. Lent is only three days away! And our Scriptures for this week put us in the Lenten mindset, preparing us for what we are about to do.
In the first reading, the Prophet Isaiah receives his call to be a prophet. His response is, in my opinion very natural. He doesn’t feel worthy to speak God’s Word—he is aware of his sinfulness. But God reaches out and touches his mouth with a coal to purify it. Then he’s ready.
In the second reading, Paul recounts his call to be an apostle; how Jesus appeared to him and his unworthiness of the mission offered to him. He feels the conviction of having persecuted the Church. But, God works through him and makes him effective.
The Gospel tells us of the call of St. Peter. God reached out to Peter through the work that he had been doing—fishing. When Jesus tells him to put his net into the lake after he had a totally unsuccessful night of work, his nets are so full of fish they can’t even handle the load. Peter feels the call to discipleship through this, asking Jesus to “depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Jesus responds as God always does, “Do not be afraid.”
Each story is the story of a call to follow God and bring him to others. Each story expresses how many of us feel when faced with our call to do as Isaiah, Paul and Peter did. Each story shares the same response of God—to make us able when we think we aren’t.
We are about to embark on a new Lenten Season. This is an opportunity to explore the call that each of us was given, to recognize our sin (what stands in the way of fulfilling our mission) and God’s unending, unfailing help that makes us effective.
You can read this Sunday’s readings here:
Break Open the Word with Your Family
Ash Wednesday is this week! Do you know what you are going to give up for Lent? (You can’t give up school, homework or anything that’s good for you, like broccoli!)
Lent is a great season for reconnecting with God and yourself. It’s a time to look at the way we live and what we want to change. Read over the Spiritual Works of Mercy. See if there’s a way that you can incorporate one of them into your Lenten fast (what you will give up for Lent) that will make you more like you want to be.
Are there one or two qualities about you that make you feel inadequate for fulfilling the call that you have received? Remember, God doesn’t ever call the qualified; he qualifies the called (even parents).
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”