From the beginning of time God has already loved us. This love is followed by a call; God has called each of us into existence to reveal his love in a unique way. Jeremiah was aware of his call in the first reading and Jesus clearly expressed his sense of his call in today’s Gospel. In the second reading, St. Paul reminds each Christian that he or she is a special gift. We express our gifts in different ways, but each of us is given by God for the good of all.
The challenge for each of us is to discover, cherish and develop fully the person God is calling each of us to be. In other words, we must strive to fully express the gift of God that we are. Following the mysterious call to become what God has planned each of us to be, rather than trying to be what others expect us to be, is the journey to a fulfilled life. Each person discovers joy in being the loved and loving person they are before God, even though they might not be totally understood or accepted by others.
Loving oneself also enables one to truly love others and to appreciate and receive the unique and holy gift of each person.
Sometimes the freedom and surety of a person of faith can be seen as a threat to others, especially if people are less sure of themselves because they don’t know how much God loves them. Their fear-filled response can be violent, as both the lives of Jeremiah and Jesus show us. Yet the threat of rejection and even death did not stop Jesus and it cannot stop us.
May the lives of faith, hope and love of the saints and martyrs throughout the ages give us examples and encourage us to receive the embrace of God. May we, like them, become both signs of God’s mercy and the unique gift to humanity we are each called to be.
Fr. Joseph Jablonski, MSC