Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee and invited young fishermen to follow him. He went to the tax collector’s booth and called Matthew to be a disciple. Jesus noticed Zaccheaus perched on a sycamore tree and invited himself to Zaccheaus’ house for dinner. He met the Samaritan woman at the well during the hottest hour of the day and through an extended conversation, changed the woman’s life. A quick survey of the Gospels rapidly illustrates that Jesus did not wait for people to come to him, but rather he walked into people’s lives, interfered, and effected a change. Jesus did not wait patiently for the synagogue to fill up in order to teach; he preached and moved hearts right where people were. Some found it hard to believe that Jesus would take such a personal interest in their lives like the centurion who upon learning that Jesus was heading to his house, he exclaimed, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” He did not feel worthy to receive Jesus in his house.
Jesus takes a personal interest in every human life. At times we may echo the words of the centurion in disbelief that God, who is so different from us, can desire an intimate relationship with us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you,” announced God to the prophet Jeremiah when he was called to preach repentance to Israel. Before each one of us was created, God knew us, and chose to create us. Our very existence is imbued with the love of our creator.
Saint Therese of Lisieux famously exclaimed, “Jesus, my love. At last I have found my vocation. My vocation is love. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and then I will be all things.” The Saint’s simple yet profound revelation is that love is at the heart of the Christian life, therefore a faithful disciple of Jesus is called to love with a heart that imitates the heart of the Master. Out of love for us, He enters into our lives to transform them, and He calls us to do the same for others. This is the vocation of every Christian, and it impels us to ask, “how do I love?” The answer to that question looks differently for each individual according to his or her talents, desires, and life circumstances. Saint Therese responded to the call to love by entering the convent at a very young age. Others respond through marriage, service, their profession, and pretty much all the small daily decisions where love is chosen over indifference and alienation.
Jesus taught, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” How do I love, especially those most difficult to love? The way we live our vocation to love is the measure by which our lives will be measured on the last day. The example of Jesus engaging others personally remains the most perfect illustration for us to follow. How will I love today?
Picture is not mine, find it here.